MOTORSPORT NEWS

Formula 1: Lewis Hamilton’s penalty a huge deal with historic implications

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport’s Lewis Hamilton crossed the line to finish the Brazilian Grand Prix in third place at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace.

But that was after he made contract with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing rookie Alexander Albon in a battle for second place on the race’s penultimate lap, causing him to spin out and costing him what would have been the first podium finish of his Formula 1 career.

Hamilton celebrated his third place finish on the podium, but he was extremely apologetic about the move and pretty much expected to be stripped of his result.

So five seconds proved to be costly for the 34-year-old Briton, who dropped down to seventh in the order, allowing McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr., who started in 20th (last) place after mechanical issues prevented him from completing a qualifying lap, to finish on the podium for the first time in his career in third.

Alfa Romeo Racing’s Kimi Raikkonen was promoted to a season-high fourth place and rookie teammate Antonio Giovinazzi was promoted to a career-high fifth. Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, who spent the early stages of the race in 20th (last) after running into Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, damaging his front wing and receiving a five-second penalty for the incident, finished in sixth.

At the end of the day, this penalty doesn’t seem like much for Hamilton, who has already locked up his sixth career world championship this season, and it doesn’t seem like much for Mercedes, which already locked up their sixth consecutive constructor title this year as well.

But in other ways pertaining to the history of Formula 1, it’s huge.

Entering this race, the 20th of 21 races on the 2019 schedule, Hamilton had a chance to break or tie six significant records before the end of the season. Two of those records are the all-time single-season podium finishes record and the all-time single-season points record.

The single-season podium finish record is 17, and it is shared by Michael Schumacher, who went 17 for 17 in the 2002 season, Sebastian Vettel, who went 17 for 19 in the 2011 season, and Hamilton, who went 17 for 19 in the 2015 season, 17 for 21 in the 2016 season and 17 for 21 in the 2018 season.

A podium finish in the Brazilian Grand Prix would have tied the record, as it would have been Hamilton’s 17th top three result of the year, and it would have put him in position to break that record in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit, a race he hasn’t finished outside of the top two since 2013. Instead, he can tie it at best.

The single-season point record is 408, which Hamilton set last season. Entering the Brazilian Grand Prix, he had scored 381 points in 2019.

With 15 points from a third place finish, he would have been at 396 points entering the season finale, meaning he would have needed a fourth place finish plus the fastest race lap (13 points) or a third place finish (15 points) in Abu Dhabi to break the record.

With his seventh place finish, however, he scored only six points at Interlagos, and he has 387 points to his name entering the season finale.

He cannot possibly score 22 points unless he scores 25 (or 26 with the fastest race lap) by winning this 55-lap race around the 21-turn, 3.451-mile (5.5544-kilometer) Yas Marina Circuit road course on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Hamilton is a four-time Abu Dhabi Grand Prix winner, but he has never won it in consecutive seasons, and he just won it last year after winning it in 2011, 2014 and 2016.

As insignificant as Lewis Hamilton’s post-Brazilian Grand Prix five-second time penalty seemed considering that he is the 2019 Formula 1 world champion and a six-time world champion either already, it had major negative implications on his pursuit of two significant all-time single-season records.

A podium finish in the Brazilian Grand Prix would have tied the record, as it would have been Hamilton’s 17th top three result of the year, and it would have put him in position to break that record in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit, a race he hasn’t finished outside of the top two since 2013. Instead, he can tie it at best.

The single-season point record is 408, which Hamilton set last season. Entering the Brazilian Grand Prix, he had scored 381 points in 2019.

With 15 points from a third place finish, he would have been at 396 points entering the season finale, meaning he would have needed a fourth place finish plus the fastest race lap (13 points) or a third place finish (15 points) in Abu Dhabi to break the record.

With his seventh place finish, however, he scored only six points at Interlagos, and he has 387 points to his name entering the season finale.

He cannot possibly score 22 points unless he scores 25 (or 26 with the fastest race lap) by winning this 55-lap race around the 21-turn, 3.451-mile (5.5544-kilometer) Yas Marina Circuit road course on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Source: Fanside