Sutil criticizes penalty decisions

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Adrian Sutil has hit out at Formula One’s stewards, claiming they have reacted to and penalized infractions in an inconsistent fashion.

Sutil received a three-place grid penalty for holding up Lewis Hamilton during qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix, but said he had been impeded in a similar fashion in Belgium but no penalties had been handed down.

“I think they just wanted to make an example now to say ‘we are consistent in penalties’,” Sutil said to Autosport.

It was the second time this year Sutil had been penalized for holding up Hamilton – he also did so while being lapped by the Mercedes driver in Canada.

Sutil also criticized the stop-go penalty given to Pastor Maldonado in Belgium, describing it as inconsequential given Maldonado’s low position in the running order. The Williams driver collided with Sutil and team mate Paul di Resta, putting the latter out of the race.

“I think the penalty for Maldonado was a joke,” said Sutil. “He was out of the race anyway after this incident and he gets, what, a drive-through? He deserved a grid position penalty.”

“The problem is that sometimes there are drivers that are kind of stupid,” he added. “They have no intelligence, and for them we need all the rules.”

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).