F1 fans have blasted the 'joke' penalty handed down to Lewis Hamilton after the Mercedes veteran ruined Oscar Piastri's top-10 chances at the Italian Grand Prix. Hamilton was hit with a five-second penalty on Sunday after the two drivers tangled on lap 41 of 51 while battling for eighth place in Monza.
Hamilton, a seven-time world champion, cut across the front of Piastri, sending himself and the Aussie driver off the track. Both were able to recover and continue the race, but Piastri suffered front-wing damage that forced him into the pits.
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Hamilton was hit with a five-second penalty and admitted he was "totally at fault". However he managed to improve to sixth position and produced a seven-second margin on Alex Albon - ensuring the sanction had no impact on his result.
— Formula 1 (@F1) September 3, 2023
In complete contrast, the 22-year-old Piastri was forced to stop for repairs, dropping him out of a top-10 finish - meaning he missed out on securing any points. "He just turned across me under braking," Piastri said on the team radio.
Hamilton, who was also hit with two penalty points on his driver's licence, went over to Piastri to apologise after the chequered flag. "It was totally my fault," Hamilton said after the race. "It actually wasn't intentional. I went and apologised to him straight afterwards.
"I got up alongside him and just misjudged the gap I had to the right and clipped him. It could happen at any time. I knew shortly afterwards it must have been my fault and I wanted to make sure he knew it wasn't intentional. That's what gentleman do."
F1 fans fume over 'joke' penalty for Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff praised Hamilton for taking accountability, and had no issues with the stewards' decision. "That was Lewis' mistake," said Wolff. "I think a five-second penalty for that is what the menu says. These things happen, you know. It's hard racing and we've seen a few of these. It's justifiable.
"Lewis is very sportsmanlike on these things. And he is the only one that I see out there admitting things that he did wrong. We just had a chat and he said 'I didn't see him on the right and that is on me.' And I think that kind of sportsmanship is what you need to admire with him. Pretty much everyone else is complaining and moaning to try to avoid getting a penalty."
But fans and pundits weren't happy with the five-second penalty, believing it didn't go far enough. Many felt Hamilton deserved a bigger punishment considering he effectively ruined Piastri's race and wasn't affected himself.
Piastri later posted on social media: "Got to take the rough with the smooth. Bring on Singapore". The Singapore Grand Prix is on September 17.
No, he should've got more than five seconds
— dystainak (@dystainak) September 3, 2023
— Pablo (@BloopGG) September 3, 2023
He screwed Piastri and this penalty didn't even cost him 1 position. It was nothing! This is a joke, poor Piastri
— Lewis H. (@luisbiermanII) September 3, 2023
5 seconds just doesn’t seem enough when Piastri finishes outside the points.
— Tony White (@Tony_White1) September 3, 2023
he hits Piastri, gains the position and still gets only 5 seconds, this is a joke
— dani (@notdanielfdca) September 3, 2023
This penalty was an absolute joke. Destroy Piastri’s race, and you get a slap on the wrist. This guy can’t race WTW.
— Cameron (@camdk84) September 3, 2023
Max Verstappen makes history with 10th straight race win
Meanwhile, runaway championship leader Max Verstappen secured a 10th straight win with victory in Monza - the most in F1 history. "That's a nice stat," Verstappen said on team radio immediately after Sunday's win.
Another flawless performance from the two-time defending champion helped Verstappen beat teammate Sergio Perez by 6.802 seconds for a Red Bull one-two. Carlos Sainz was third, 11.082 behind Verstappen and just ahead of Charles Leclerc as the two Ferrari drivers battled for the final spot on Monza's iconic podium.
"I never would have believed that was possible but we had to work for it today and that made it definitely a lot more fun," Verstappen said. The win also increased Verstappen's huge championship lead to 145 points in a crushingly dominant season for the 25-year-old Dutchman.
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