2008 Belgian F1 GP – Hamilton penalised, Massa wins

2008 Belgian F1 GP - Podium

2008 Belgian F1 GP - Podium

Lewis Hamilton was handed 25 secs penalty for cutting the chicane in the wheel to wheel fight with Kimi Raikkonen in dying stages of Belgian GP. This move, following Massa’s no penalty in Valencia, will no doubt spark new hot debates about the stewards’ decision making.

The penalty means Felipe Massa was handed the race win, Nick Heidfeld moved up to 2nd, Lewis Hamilton dropped to 3rd. Only 2 points now separate Hamilton and Massa …



FIA cinfirmed McLaren have lodged an appeal against Hamilton’s penalty that demoted him to third place in the Belgian Grand Prix.

27 Comments Post a Comment
  1. In your last post you said this was a candidate for race of the season. Should that now be farce of the season?

    Steve Robertsons last blog post..Google Chrome – I Like it

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      well, I will need to sleep on that … it is however definitellt pity that after this decision the discussion point will not be the great race we had but the FIA’s and stweards’ decision making process and fairness …

  2. MattNo Gravatar says:

    Damn, I suspected (as I’m sure most did) that the decision might go this way but I was hoping that common sense would prevail.

    What a downer on such a fantastic race.

  3. RogerNo Gravatar says:

    Hamilton’s actions looked pretty fair to me: he let Raikonnen take the lead again and I did wonder whether Raikonnen should have been penalised for jinking so much to block Hamilton on the run into La Source

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      Well, this sure was not the cleanest race from Kimi. He attacked Massa pretty hard after start, two of them, team mates, coming very close together … Then it looked like he even turned a car bit into Hamilton when trying to fend off his first overtaking maneuvre …

      In Hamilton’s case I believe the issue is not just that chicane cutting, he gave the position he gained back to Hamilton. The issue probably is the fact he gained an advantage, the momentum that allowed him to retake the lead almost immediatelly after he gave the lead back to Kimi…

      It would be interesting to hear what the stewards have to say about their decision making process.

      • KotenokNo Gravatar says:

        I think the matters of the penaly are on the trajectory line, when seeing the moment of Hamilton slowing down he took the line, blocking Kimi on the inside side of the track. And I think that it’s well known that to take a corner is needed to open wide and close at the apex… Hamilton didn’t allow that. So he has anyway won that advantage from passing through the chicane on La Source.

  4. LeratoNo Gravatar says:

    How did he gain advantage if he gave the position away ?

    Its high time that Lewis Hamilton and his team should close their big mouths and start doing the talking on the race track. How stupendous, unjust and unfair…

    So far the greatest competitor and rival of the Mclaren team is FIA

  5. F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

    Here are few opinions of those involved:

    “There are rules about cutting chicanes and gaining an advantage and they are looking it. So I don’t have anything to say,”

    - Kimi, aftre race, before the penalty was announced

    “Firstly, Kimi ran me wide. To avoid an incident, I had to go up that part of the track. There was no advantage. I lifted along the straight. I clearly let him past.”

    - Lewis Hamilton, after race, before penalty

    “Personally, I think it was a little bit extreme. It’s normal that when you attack that you are racing, but the problem is (of) the advantage that may take by doing a manoeuvre and this is the key point of it, so I think that that’s the focus that has to be considered.What is really the advantage that you are taking in such conditions that can be used in the second situation at the first corner? That, in my view, is the most important thing. But this is racing. As I said to your Italian colleagues, we are not used to commenting on decisions. The only thing I would say is that as soon as we had been summoned by the stewards, we gave our position to the stewards and that was it. Then the stewards for sure listened to the Hamilton discussion on that, and that is the decision. On that we don’t want to take any further comment.”

    - Stefano Domenicali

    “Of course Charlie can only give an opinion because he is not the stewards, but he gave the opinion that we had probably complied. Charlie is of course a very important opinion to have,”

    - Ron Dennis on opinion McLaren received from Charlie Whiting

  6. zblkhwkNo Gravatar says:

    From my perspective, he gained an advantage by cutting the chicane. Even though he dropped behind Kimi, he carried momentum that led to his pass.

    That being said, they should have immediately communicated an investigation and should have given him a drive thru penalty during the race. To try and correct their original mistake stinks of more F1/FIA favortism to Ferrari.

    • lukeNo Gravatar says:

      if he “dropped behind kimi” how did he “carry momentum that led to his pass”. The two statements are incompatible.

      you cannot drop behind somehing if you are carrying more momentum.

      He clearly had better grip under braking and this is why he passed kimi (and incidentally why he got 90% of thr way past him at the previous corner)

      an illogical decision from the stewards which I preict will be overturned on appeal

      • KotenokNo Gravatar says:

        Just to say it simply, I consider the matters that he didn’t completely drop back. He just slowed down, but on the trajectory line, as I insisted. Hamilton pushed Kimi to break earlier cause he was on the inside part of the track, and was unable to take that corner, that was clearly a way to get some advantage… So he go a penalty for that, I don’t think there’s interest of the FIA to destroy the season of this driver specially, the stewards did consider the rules as should do with anybody else.

        Let’s just say, Kimi on dry did a perfect race, until the McLaren reduced the gap on wet surface. Lewis on wet showed some great performance, driving superb. And the result of all that was a thrilling race when we all were nervous about that drops which the heaven gifted today.

        Kotenoks last blog post..Jose

        • lukeNo Gravatar says:

          he let kimi pass him again, which is normally enough…how long was he meant to wait before he dropped completely back? one car length? ten?

          that’s never been the way it works…he was alongside him in the previous corner and behind him after at the start finish line. so it seems pretty clear to me that any advantage gained was then given back

  7. RogerNo Gravatar says:

    I do not understand the reasoning for the penalty. The momentum gained from cutting the chicane was relinquished as Hamilton let Raikonnen re-pass him. For this to occur, Hamilton had to be travelling more slowly than Raikonnen so he had it all to do again. The stewards need to be careful that their actions do not inhibit manouvres that make for exciting racing. The wheel to wheel dicing round La Source following the chicane event was a breathtaking piece of competitive driving by both Kimi and Lewis.

  8. lukeNo Gravatar says:

    Given that telemetry shows hamilton was 6 mph slower than kimi as they crossed the line, the case that there was any advantage in momentum gained is obviously going to be a hard one to support at appeal.

    If anything as apolitical as physics matters

  9. KotenokNo Gravatar says:

    This time the podium’s picture allows me to see that the drivers aren’t cloned “Hamiltons”, but there’s a careful Massa on wet and a surprising Heidfield with a radical strategy just 2 laps to the end :) And what is doing Hamilton in the highest step of the podium? Wasn’t he 3rd party in disagreemen?! HEHE Bad luck this time, he should be more careful forget saved from the rules and being penalised, he was going to pass Raikkonen anyway.

    Kotenoks last blog post..Jose

  10. RichardNo Gravatar says:

    Bernie likes Ferrari and openly dislikes mclaren – it’s as simple as knowing who owns F1 and who’s in who’s pocket. The whole sport stinks to be honest and the sooner the officials are made independent of Mr B and Ferrari, the better it will be for the sport as a whole.

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      FIA does not like McLaren but I would be careful about making the same claim about Bernie … Bernie is the one who keeps saying how good is Hamilton for F1 an d how great champion he would be … And remember – Bernie was at the McLaren 2008 car launch (perhaps a PR stunt following all that happened in 2007)

      Bernie however has only little to do with stewards’ decisions I believe, he is not FIA, he is FOM and CVC Partners

      • KotenokNo Gravatar says:

        I think some people get anger about some events without any reason :P Looking back to 2007, it’s normal that the FIA seems to be careful with the actions of McLaren, the races have to be fair also for the rest of the teams and drivers, it has been many times that the FIA banned or settled penalities that we almost couldn’t understand, but anyway they were needed to regulate the sport (and many times these penalities doesn’t arrive, and that’s trully favouritism). As marshal, I don’t set any penalty, but I do advise when they happen to be analyzed. Yesterday, if I had the luck to be in the circuit I openly adviced several times for several different actions, but it’s up to the stewards to decide what is the propper way to see or understand the happened during a race.
        As the FIA is the organism which organize the stewards for each race, of course they’re responsible of anything happening there, but at the same time they do not control much of a race more than the race director and the regulation comittee.

        About our friend Bernie, did somebody notice that we can freely enjoy of the F1 through TV? Did somebody notice there’re more F1 events? And maybe somebody thinks that the sport is becomming more exciting year after year? It’s not all thanks to Bernie of course, but in a great part yes. He’s creating a great empire for sure, growing his pockets with great amounts of money (who wouldn’t do it in his place?), but also helping the most elitist; sport to survive, there are new venues that help to rise the interest in F1 which has been purposed by himself, and I do value that work. He’s not a shinny man, but brilliant sometimes. And does own in part the F1, with many control about what happens, but the sport regulation can’t be touched by Bernie or his management teams. So I wouldn’t be that extremist to point with a finger somebody and tell: “this one is guilty”.

        The F1 is built so, that nobody can own it completely and rule it by their own wish. As many corporations over the world.

        Kotenoks last blog post..Jose

  11. BrunoNo Gravatar says:

    It is just utter rubbish…. Replays clearly show him slowing down and get back behind him, even if he was faster and in his stream, and being penalized for that is in my opinion a really bad call from the FIA – This season doesn’t need anymore controversy, may the best driver win ( If possible Lewis :0 …) Looking forward to the appeal and see what other nonsense stewards are gonna throw at McLaren.

    Brunos last blog post..Post Race conference – Questions from the floor

  12. zblkhwkNo Gravatar says:


    He may have dropped back, but he put himself right on Kimi’s tail. That put him in the slip stream of Kimi, giving him the advantage for this pass. It was obvious that he had a huge advantage given how easily he passed Kimi in such a short distance. I do agree, that eventually he would have passed Kimi anyway.

    That being said, I agree with you that the penalty was incorrect. It was vague from the start as Hamilton did clearly allow Kimi to pull in front. The timing of the penalty after the completion of the race stinks of more meddling by F1/FIA favoring Ferrari at the expense of McLaren.

  13. […] Webber under yellow flags) and the controversial one to Lewis Hamilton for cutting the chicane. The debate on that Hamilton’s penalty has already begun below another article. I wil focus this review more on the race action itself and later today post my take on the whole […]

  14. […] some doubts about legality of that move, otherwise why would they enquire with Charlie Whiting ? (see comments below my yesterday post on this topic). I think I can confidently say that should Lewis let Kimi to get clearly back to the lead and then […]

  15. Nick CarterNo Gravatar says:

    To the F1 Stewards and Management,

    I’ll leave you with one thing to ponder:

    Kimi made an impatient error in the European Grand Prix that cost a pit team crew his health and a few broken bones. This was nothing short of endangerment of a human life. What was his penalty? Nothing?

    Lewis makes an error (which he rightly yielded for on the straight) on a chicane that can be heavily argued did not even impact the outcome of the race, and he was penalised his race title with 25 seconds added to his race time.

    In other words, an error impacting the life and health of a pit crewmember is secondary to an error in the race.

    Now, being a reasonable man, I was willing to accept Kimi not being penalised for this rookie mistake, but when you start to penalise drivers for RACING with spirit, then I take a different view.

    Endangerment of human life, on the track or in the pits should be paramount, and therefore one could argue Kimi should have been penalised from the start of SPA, if not incur a one race suspension.

    Now doesn’t that impact the result slightly?

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      I a not sure I can agree with the point you are making.

      Last year Kazuki Nakajima hit his mechanics, no penalty to him. F1 is dangerous and accidents also in pitlane can happen.

      You say that what happened in that chicane did not affect the outcome of the race. Well I think that what happened in that chicane did affect the outcome of the race….

      Hamilton was not penalized for racing. This is a claim that many sites are trying to make. Well, Hamilton was penalized for cutting the chicane and gaining an advantage as a result. Whether he gained the advantage or not is matter for debate. But he was not penalized for his attempt to overtake Raikkonen …

      There is more on this here:


    • KotenokNo Gravatar says:

      Common!! Let’s also say that Enzo Ferrari was a serious killer also!!! Or that Frank Williams should be in jail because of Senna’s death! What’s on now???

      Seems that some population sector doesn’t believe in laws, do not understand that penalties shall be applied when something illegal happens (sports in general or any crime to society). The completely unfair would be not receiving some penalty.

      The thing is that many more penalties should be applied, that’s true, because many of the driver’s actions are not fair at all. But to me it looks a little bit too much extreme such comment, it’s enough the terrible feeling or the failures of having kicked a man and not doing the job well, it doesn’t mean that it can’t deserve a penalty, but it doesn’t need to be applied anyway, Kimi Raikkonen didn’t do nothing to his profit in the last 2 races.

      Kotenoks last blog post..Ferrari_Alex

  16. Here’s a typical comment from people: “…he gained an advantage by cutting the chicane. Even though he dropped behind Kimi, he carried momentum that led to his pass”
    Did nobody do Physics 101? How can you slow down and let the other person past while maintaining the momentum achieved by cutting the corner? This is unfair and pathetic!


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