New Delhi: Seven-times Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton was fined 5,000 euros ($5,723.50) on Sunday after he released his seat belt and collected a Brazilian flag to celebrate victory at Interlagos. A further 20,000 euro fine was suspended through to the end of 2022.
Stewards had summoned a Mercedes team representative for an alleged breach of the sporting code by their driver. The code states that drivers “must be properly restrained in their seat by safety belts… at all times during a competition when it is mobile on a circuit, pit lane, special stage or competition course.” Hamilton had slowed after winning the race to wave at the crowd and collect the flag.
“While the stewards are sympathetic to the desire to celebrate, it is fundamentally unsafe to undo the seatbelts while the car is in motion,” the decision said.
“Slow speeds in these cars are very fast for an unrestrained occupant.” Further, Formula One drivers set the example for junior categories. It is critical that junior category drivers learn the importance of using all the safety devices of the car at all times.”