Lewis Hamilton picked up a fine for his antics ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, which takes place on Saturday.

Toto Wolff has stated that there was no intent involved in the FP2 near-miss between Lewis Hamilton and Logan Sargeant on Thursday. The seven-time world champion earned Mercedes a £12,800 (€15,000) fine for a ‘serious failure’ in communications.

 

 

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Hamilton was driving slowly on the racing line during Thursday’s FP2 session in a bid to stay out of the way of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz. However, the British driver was unaware that Sargeant was charging on a flying lap.

 

The American rookie was forced to jolt his Williams car to the right in order to avoid a collision, leaving him furious with the seven-time world champion. In reaction, Sargeant threw his hand up and exclaimed: “Mate, come on. It’s too dangerous.”

 

Sainz, who was following closely behind the pair, also expressed his concern over Hamilton’s driving. “What Hamilton did there was super dangerous,” he said on the team radio. “Like he was in the middle, I couldn’t get out of the way. Sargeant nearly crashed because of him.”

 

 

Giving his thoughts on the incident, Wolff told Sky Germany: “I saw the moment, but I don’t know if Lewis got the message that Sargeant was coming. In any case, it was dangerous and it could have resulted in a big crash, but nobody does that on purpose, especially not Lewis.”

 

Hamilton’s immediate reaction confirmed that he had not been made aware of Sargeant’s presence. “I didn’t realise someone was on a lap,” he said. “I was trying to get out of the way for Sainz and all of a sudden there was a Williams there.” The 39-year-old apologised to the American driver on the track, holding his hand up to acknowledge his error.

 

 

 

This helped Hamilton avoid a personal reprimand following a trip to see the stewards, although there was no such luck for Mercedes, who picked up a £12,800 (€15,000) fine for their communications mishap.

 

 

An FIA statement explained: “Car 2 (Sargeant) had to take evasive action by going off the track to avoid a collision. Had that not been done, there would have been a serious, high-speed crash. Having listened to the team radio, it was clear to us that the team of Car 44 failed to warn their driver of the fact that Car 2 was arriving on a fast lap.

 

“That was a serious failure on the part of the team, particularly given the speeds on this circuit and the nature of turn 11, which is at the end of a series of high-speed corners where driver visibility is impaired. We therefore issue a warning to the driver and impose a fine of €15,000 to the team.”

 

 

Gideon Canice

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