As the stewards noted in their report, McLaren driver Lando Norris was also invited to account for a similar offence, namely “alleged breaches of Article 33.4 of the FIA Formula One sporting regulations by cars 44 and 4 and non-compliance with the race director’s note; driving unnecessarily slowly at 18:59”.
Those notes state that “drivers must stay under the maximum time limit set by the FIA between safety car lines on the pit lane map in order to avoid excessively slow lap times during all qualifying sessions or during reconnaissance laps”.
The stewards noted that 35 drivers committed 55 violations during qualifying at the Spanish GP, but Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher were the most serious offenders, both receiving warnings.
Ahead of his meeting with the stewards, Hamilton insisted that he had been off the racing line as well as following the delta.
Asked about the incident by Motorsport.com, he replied, “We’re one of the slowest on the straight.”.
As a result, he needed a tow. The rule is that you must stay within your delta time from the safety car one line to the safety car two lines.
“I was within my delta. I slowed down and pulled off, completely off, to allow other cars to pass. But they wouldn’t go by.”
It was interesting to see how some vehicles completely ignored the delta when we were in Barcelona, and drove extremely slowly. I think a couple of them were reprimanded.
They would have gained at least five degrees of cooler tyre temperature by going as slowly as they did.
This is why they were so quick. And when they went slowly, I went around them, so I was not troubled.
“However, I wasn’t doing anything unsafe today. I was offline and I wasn’t below my delta.”
Considering whether he would avoid sanction, Hamilton responded: “I don’t think it’s wrong. They had the choice to go by, but they didn’t. And I was within my delta. If I were below my delta, I could understand, but I wasn’t.”