Hamilton says he doesn’t feel “singled out” by FIA over review of his F1 track crossing incident

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Lewis Hamilton’s race in Qatar ended prematurely after a lap one collision between him and teammate George Russell left his Mercedes damaged and beached in the gravel trap.

Afterwards, a dejected Hamilton was seen crossing the track, intending to return to the pitlane. A particularly dramatic slow-mo shot showed Russell driving by behind Hamilton just moments later.

The action prompted the FIA to investigate and subsequently penalise Hamilton, who was fined €50,000—€25,000 of it suspended—and given his first reprimand of the season for the violation. And that was that.

Until, days later, the governing body announced their intention to review the penalty, stating that, “In view of [Hamilton’s] role model status, the FIA is concerned about the impression his actions may have created on younger drivers.”

In the statement, the FIA also noted that: “Lewis was apologetic during the subsequent stewards’ hearing into the incident and acknowledged that the crossing was a serious safety breach.”

The wording appears to suggest the FIA is interested in evaluating how to handle similar situations in the future, rather than increasing the severity of Hamilton’s penalty.

Photo credit: Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team

Speaking to the media during Thursday’s press conference in Austin, Hamilton said that he didn’t feel “singled out” by the FIA and their statement.

“No, I don’t think I was singled out. I think ultimately it was just poor communication. I don’t think what they had said is exactly what they meant.

“I think what they mean is that they’re just gonna look into how they can tackle those sorts of things moving forwards to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

“I think there was a karting incident recently where a kid was hit, so we really need to make sure that we’re continuously focusing on safety,” Hamilton added, referring to an accident that recently took place during the karting world championships in Italy, where British racer Joe Turney sustained leg injuries when he attempted to push his kart back onto the track and was hit by a competitor.

“I think that’s really at the core at the root of it, but I just think they probably need to speak to their PR agent to do a better job.”

Hamilton went on, reiterating that he wants to “send the right message” going forward.

“They [the FIA] have spoken to me and their actual point is important. When I sat in the meeting with them in the stewards’ office, obviously I put my hands up in the heat of the moment, it was the wrong decision.”

“What’s important is to send the right message, particularly for the younger drivers throughout the ages, that that’s not the thing to do.

“I apologised at the time and I think they’re just looking to how to make sure that doesn’t happen moving forward.”