Sunday’s Russian GP’s biggest topic of conversation was Lewis Hamilton’s five-second time fines, which took the Englishman a chance to drive to victory.
Hamilton’s time fines came from the training starts he made before the start of the race as the cars left the depot straight towards the starting grid.
Britti commented bitterly on his penalties after the race: he found his penalties ridiculous and even claimed that the race jury was “trying to stop him”.
Read more: Lewis Hamilton makes harsh accusations against Mika Salo and other F1 judges: "They're trying to stop me"
Mika Salo, a driver member of the Russian GP jury, answered Ilta-Sanomat's phone call from the race jury's office, where he was still more than an hour after the end of the race.
Salo's response to Hamilton's speeches was simple:
- Full of shit.
This is by no means true.
Everyone has the same rules, Salo said.
Mersu's team boss Toto Wolff also disagreed with the penalties and commented in his own press conference to the international F1 media IS, including that the race management's instructions do not state clearly enough where training starts can be taken.
Wolff said the “race directors Notes” only state that re-starts must be made from the right side of the depot port lights.
In Salo's view, the guidelines leave no room for interpretation.
- That's pretty clear.
Hamilton made his start from the side of the track and twice more, Salo said.
Hamilton made his last practice start at the white line that almost ends the depot exit, Salo says.
Therefore, the official reason for the second penalty was that Hamilton did not drive at a steady pace to the starting grid as required by the rules.