Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn believes that Lewis Hamilton was penalized five grid positions for tomorrow’s Bahrain Grand Prix because of reasons beyond his control and thus, shouldn’t be punished.
In FP3 before qualifying on Saturday morning, Hamilton’s left rear tire blew out and caused additional damage to the suspension in that area of his machine. The team opted to change the gearbox as part of repairs, triggering the penalty from the FIA; Hamilton qualified fourth this afternoon, but will have to start ninth from the grid in tomorrow’s race (7:30 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Network).
Afterwards, Brawn called for another look at that particular regulation, saying that Hamilton had also made the same point to him.
“The difficulty we have in the future is where we get marginal cases where you have a problem, perhaps aggravated by the driver, and you don’t get a gearbox failure as such, but it needs to be changed,” said Brawn to reporters in Bahrain. “Then you get into these long debates…It is frustrating to get a penalty when there has been an outside influence. It’s annoying.”
“Fortunately it doesn’t happen too often, but if it were to happen at a critical part of the season then it would be doubly frustrating, so it’s worth looking at again.”
According to Alan Baldwin of Reuters, Pirelli has said in a statement that the left-rear tire had not suffered any structural failure. As for Hamilton, he basically shrugged at the situation.
“It doesn’t really matter,” the former World Champion told Reuters. “The rules are the rules. I got a penalty and I’ve just got to suck it up and deal with it.”