HOCKENHEIM (Reuters) – Lewis Hamilton’s move to seek clarification about team mate Nico Rosberg’s controversial pole lap in Hungary from the F1 governing body’s Charlie Whiting was misjudged and regrettable, his Mercedes team said on Friday.
“It’s my understanding that Lewis did go and see Charlie,” said the team’s technical chief Paddy Lowe Lowe, referring to the International Automobile Federation’s (FIA) Formula One race director Whiting.
“But it wasn’t in any way to seek a review of Nico’s lap – it was for his own understanding of what should be done in the future, how that should work for him in the future.
“I think that was regrettable,” added Lowe who said Hamilton should have got any information he needed from his team.
Rosberg took pole position for the last race in Hungary, going faster on the lap on which he set his benchmark time despite encountering double waved yellow flags deployed to warn drivers about Fernando Alonso’s McLaren which had spun.
Rosberg was investigated after the session but stewards deemed he had slowed down sufficiently and allowed him to keep pole.
Hamilton, who was on provisional pole at the time and abandoned his final attempt at seizing the top spot, contacted Whiting after the session.
But the Briton said it was merely to seek clarification on how much a driver had to slow for double waved yellow flags and not to prod stewards into taking action against Rosberg.
The rules say a driver must slow down significantly and be prepared to change direction or stop.
“Personally, he should have kept to advice from the team and we can obtain that from Charlie as necessary,” Lowe said.
“It was just a misjudgment from that point of view.”
Whiting on Friday denied he had been lobbied by any drivers, who are due to discuss the yellow-flag situation with him in their regular post-practice briefing.
“I’m sure we’ll get a bit of discussion this evening but I’ve had no lobbying from drivers,” he told reporters.
He also unveiled tighter rules for qualifying aimed at avoiding a repeat of the controversy following Rosberg’s Hungary pole.
A red flag to halt qualifying will now be shown every time double yellow flags are waved, starting with this weekend’s German Grand Prix.
Hamilton and Rosberg, former childhood friends turned championship rivals, head into Sunday’s German Grand Prix separated by six points.
The Briton leads, having toppled the German from the top of the standings after his win in Hungary.
(Editing by Ken Ferris)