Lewis Hamilton escaped a penalty for causing his first lap collision with teammate George Russell at the Qatar Grand Prix, but was reprimanded and fined for crossing the circuit after the incident.
The two Mercedes drivers collided in Turn 1 as Hamilton attempted to pass Russell and Max Verstappen around the outside in the opening corner of the race.
Hamilton later took full responsibility for the accident in a post on social media, while Mercedes released a video of the two drivers embracing and apologising for the incident after the race.
The stewards investigated the collision, but deemed it a first lap incident that was not worthy of a penalty.
A statement said: “Whilst the argument can be made that Car 44 [Hamilton] was predominantly at fault, the stewards, taking into account that the incident happened in lap one and several cars were involved, determine that the incident is considered as a typical “lap one, Turn 1″ incident and no driver is wholly at fault. Therefore no further action is taken.”
The incident saw Hamilton’s race come to an end in the Turn 1 gravel trap while Russell was able to continue and eventually finished fourth.
To get back to the pits, Hamilton walked across the circuit while cars were circulating behind the safety car and was close to obstructing Russell as his teammate rejoined the pack.
The stewards reprimanded Hamilton for his actions and fined him 50,000 Euros — 25,000 Euros of which is suspended for the remainder of the season on the condition a similar breach does not occur.
“After crashing out of the race in lap one, the driver of Car 44 abandoned his car in the gravel and ran back to the pits,” the stewards said in a statement. “He thereby crossed the track that was live at this time and reached the inside edge of the track just seconds before Car 63 arrived at high speed after exiting the pits. He then continued to walk alongside the track until finally exiting the track.
“During the hearing the driver of Car 44 was very apologetic and realised that the situation could have been very dangerous for him as well as the drivers approaching. The stewards reinforced the fact that crossing a live track can cause extremely dangerous situations and the drivers have to be very cautious about it.
“In addition to imposing a significant fine (which is suspended in parts), the stewards also reprimand the driver bearing in mind that receiving a certain number of reprimands during a season will draw a significant driving penalty in accordance with Article 18.2 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.”
Article 18.2 states that five reprimands in a season will result in a 10-place grid penalty at the next event as long as four are for driving offences. Hamilton’s reprimand in Qatar was considered a “non-driving” reprimand and was his first of the year.