Update: Hamilton hit with 10s time penalty for pre-race practice start!
Just minutes before the start of the Russian GP, Lewis Hamilton was put under investigation by the Sochi stewards for conducting a practice start out of the designated zone.
Drivers are permitted to practice starts at the exit of the pitlane on their way to the grid but Hamilton’s mock start took place much further up, apparently with the approbation of his Mercedes team.
“Practice starts may only be carried out on the right-hand side after the pit exit lights and, for the avoidance of doubt, this includes any time the pit exit is open for the race,” write FIA race director Michael Masi in his Russian GP pre-race notes
“Drivers must leave adequate room on their left for another driver to pass.”
The six-time world champion is at risk of a penalty, which could put in jeopardy his bid to equal Michael Schumacher’s of 91 Grand Prix wins.
Furthermore, with eight penalty points on his FIA Superlicence, Hamilton is also approaching the 12-point limit within a 12-month period that could lead to a one race ban.
Hamilton has been handed two 5-second time penalties for two practice start violations, or an aggregate 10 seconds!
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