Lewis Hamilton fined for removing seat belts on slowing down lap in Brazil


Lewis Hamilton has been fined €5,000 and given a €20,000 suspended fine for undoing his seat belt on the slowing down lap of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

Video footage from Hamilton’s car showed him remove his shoulder straps to wave to the crowd and pick up a Brazilian flag from a marshal after winning the race from tenth on the grid.

The moment was reminiscent of Ayrton Senna’s 1991 victory at the same circuit after he won his first Brazilian Grand Prix.

The stewards noted that Hamilton removing his belts was a an alleged breach of Appendix L Chapter III Article 4 of the FIA International Sporting Code, which states, “Drivers must be properly restrained in their seat by safety belts in conformity with the technical regulations for the vehicle concerned, at all times during a competition when it is mobile on a circuit, pit lane, special stage or competition course.”

The financial fine came with the following explanation: “The driver of car 44, Lewis Hamilton, undid his seat belts on the in-lap at the end of the race. While the Stewards are sympathetic to the desire to celebrate, it is fundamentally unsafe to undo the seatbelts while the car is in motion. Slow speeds in these cars are very fast for an unrestrained occupant.

“Further, Formula One drivers set the example for junior categories. It is critical that junior category drivers learn the importance of using all the safety devices of the car at all times.”

However, Charles Leclerc completed two laps at last year’s Spanish Grand Prix without his belts on during the race and was not investigated for the incident nor were there any repercussions when video footage emerged of the incident.

The fine capped off a busy race weekend for the stewards, who disqualified Hamilton from Friday’s qualifying results after his car failed a test on the rear wing’s drag reduction system.

Max Verstappen was also fined €50,000 on Saturday morning for touching Hamilton’s car as he inspected the rear wing of the Mercedes in parc ferme after qualifying.



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