Hamilton absolved of blame for pit penalty
Mercedes to put measures in place to avoid missing critical messages in future after initially failing to realise Monza pit lane had been shut
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 09/09/20 1:56pm
Mercedes have shouldered responsibility for the pit-lane penalty that cost Lewis Hamilton victory at last weekend’s dramatic Italian GP.
Hamilton dropped to the back of the field from the lead after collecting a 10-second stop-and-go penalty when he pitted when the service road was closed to cars. He finished only seventh, with Pierre Gasly instead taking an against-the-odds maiden F1 win.
Although F1’s six-time champion blamed himself for not seeing the electronic marker boards signalling that the pit lane was no longer open, his team say he could not have been expected to see them at the time.
Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes’ trackside engineering director, said the mistake was on the team after they only realised the pit lane had been shut to cars when it was too late. Hamilton entered the pit lane 12 seconds after race control had shut it.
“In reality, he’s not the best-placed person to spot this. We should have seen this on the pit wall. The team takes responsibility for it,” said Shovlin in Mercedes’ latest post-race debrief video.
“We’ll put systems in place to make sure we don’t do this again.
“It’s just Lewis’ way of working that whenever anything goes wrong he will always want to improve and to put it right himself and that was probably why he took the blame for this.
But really we need to put it on our shoulders.”
F1’s pit lane is not often closed to cars during races – the last time before Sunday being Brazil 2016 – but it was briefly at Monza as marshals worked to remove Kevin Magnussen’s Haas car after it had stopped on the inside of the final corner.
Mercedes’ pit wall initially missed the notification from race control on one of the timing screens.
“We can put systems in place and software that will enable us to find and ensure we see these critical messages in just a few seconds,” added James Vowles, the team’s chief strategist.
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