Lewis Hamilton will be investigated by the FIA before qualifying.
Lewis Hamilton could be hit with a grid penalty ahead of qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after an error in FP3. The Mercedes driver was spotted passing a Haas while the session was under red flags as marshals scrambled to clear up debris.
The FIA confirmed the incident had been noted before adding that it would be further investigated after the chequered flag. The stewards said: “Turn 5 incident involving car 44 (HAM) will be investigated after the session – failing to slow under red flag.”
The stewards then issued a summons to Hamilton and the Mercedes team who will need to report to race control at 4pm local time (12pm UK time). The session had been stopped as a piece of Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri had been thrown off the car after the Frenchman ran over the kerbs.
Sky Sports pundit Ted Kravitz confirmed Hamilton could be hit with a hefty penalty ahead of Sunday’s race for the simple breach. He explained: “It’s possible. I have seen them given. Grid penalties for that.”
Kravitz suggested Mercedes would try to argue that Hamilton could not slow down in time before the red flag was thrown in a bid to avoid a penalty. McLaren driver Lando Norris raised awareness of the incident through a team radio message.
He told his race engineer: “Hamilton overtook the Haas as well under the red flag.” There was some confusion over whether the light panel was showing a yellow or red flag as Hamilton passed two cars.
Watching the footage back, Karun Chandhok claimed the red light was displayed but hinted it was still difficult for a driver to determine the colour. He commented: “The panel there is red isn’t it. Maybe it just looked yellow on our camera. But the panels started to flash red before he got there.”
However, a marshal didn’t wave a red flag until after the Mercedes driver was through the corner. Moments later, Damon Hill defended Hamilton, suggesting it would have been difficult for the seven-time champion to change his actions. Hill added: “He was already moving, He wasn’t able to slow down.”
Jenson Button assessed a grid penalty would hurt Hamilton’s race a lot as he aims to secure his first win of the season. The 2009 champion also hinted he could have made the mistake himself as it looked like a yellow flag.
He told Sky Sports F1: “To me it looked like it was a yellow flag… There’s a yellow flag on the right-hand side. You didn’t see [the red flag] as a red light board from the front. It doesn’t look red, it looks yellow. On the back of the board it was red., So it should have been red but it looked like the front of the board was a yellow.”