Lewis Hamilton has escaped without a penalty for the incident during second practice at the Circuit Paul Ricard on Friday when he re-joined the track at turn four just in front of Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.
The Mercedes AMG Motorsport driver had lost control of his W10 heading into turn four, clipping the bollard on the inside before running very wide, and then re-joined the track just as Verstappen was approaching. The Dutchman was unable to take the ideal line through turn five and went off the track on the exit of the turn.
However, following an investigation, stewards in France deemed that Hamilton had made an effort to look behind him twice before taking to the track, and as a result no penalty was warranted.
“The drivers agreed that the situation was not particularly dangerous and did not give Verstappen a lasting disadvantage in this Practice Session,” read the stewards statement.
“Both drivers agreed that the limited rear visibility and the angle of Car 44 made it difficult for Hamilton to see the approaching car and agreed that Hamilton re-joined slowly.
“The Stewards could observe from the on-board video that Hamilton looked in his mirrors at least twice before attempting to re-join the circuit.”
Hamilton had earlier topped the opening session of the weekend before falling behind team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the afternoon, and he was happy with the pace of the W10, although the balance he felt could still be improved ahead of Saturday’s running.
“It’s been very hot today, but we got through most of the programme,” said the Briton. “It’s been a bit difficult with the balance of the car; maybe that’s to do with the new tarmac they have here and the high temperatures, I think the track reached 55 to 60 degrees today.
“In general, the car pace is really good, we just have to fine-tune the balance. I didn’t do a very good FP2 lap, I had a big snap into Turn 3 which I thought was a good catch, but ultimately I had a small issue with the Power Unit afterwards and had to come to the garage.
“Otherwise it’s been a smooth day with no major problems.”