An extraordinary Grand Prix with one of the most exciting finishes ever has been given a different complexion by the stewards’ decision to penalise Lewis Hamilton for taking an advantage from cutting a chicane.
There is not doubt that this is a very big call by the stewards and a lot of unbiased observers among the media and the public will find it hard to understand. It takes a lot to unpick the results of a Grand Prix, especially one which would otherwise probably be long remembered as a classic and a great advert for the sport.
I’ve watched the incident many times now and Hamilton cuts the chicane because he was pushed out wide, quite fairly by Kimi, his trajectory makes it hard for him to follow Raikkonen around the corner and, faced with going on the grass, he chose instead to cut the chicane. It’s a deliberate act on his part, amazing speed of thought, but he clearly chooses the least worst option. He is therefore in front coming out of the chicane, but crucially he is on a line he would not have been on had he taken the chicane normally.
Although he clearly hands back the lead to Kimi as they cross the line and the timing sheets show you that Kimi clearly crossed the line first, he is on him immediately afterwards. And this is the nub of the steward’s argument. Kimi’s car does get fully in front of Hamilton’s, his speed across the start line was 212km/h, while Lewis was at 206km/h, but Hamilton immediately regains the momentum. Kimi then does a kind of double block on him before Lewis sticks his car up the inside into La Source.