Hamilton inherits pole as Alonso and McLaren penalized 05 Aug 2007
Lewis Hamilton will start Sundays Hungarian Grand Prix from first on the grid after original polesitter, McLaren team mate Fernando Alonso, was deemed to have impeded the Englishman during qualifying.
Alonso has been demoted to sixth by the stewards, who decided he had unnecessarily delayed Hamilton during their final Q3 pitstops. McLaren were also punished for the incident and will not be eligible for constructors points in the race, though the team are to appeal this decision.
Hamilton missed out on the chance of a final flying lap in qualifying after he was forced to wait for Alonso to leave his pit. McLaren told stewards that they had ordered the champion to hold for 20 seconds to gain track position. However, he then remained stationary for a further 10 seconds.
Alonso claimed the additional delay was because he was asking whether the correct set of tyres had been fitted to his car. He said he was unable to ask this in the prior 20 seconds, as radio communication was impossible due to his engineer giving him the countdown to leave.
The explanation given by Alonso as to why at the expiration of the 20 second period he remained in his pit stop position for a further 10 seconds is not accepted, said officials. The Stewards find that he unnecessarily impeded another driver, Hamilton, and as a result he will be penalised by a loss of 5 grid positions.
Neither did the stewards accept McLarens explanation concerning the original 20-second delay: Reference to the circuit map shows that at the time Alonso was told he would be held for 20 seconds there were but 4 cars on the circuit, his own and those of Fisichella, Hamilton and Raikkonen. All but Raikkonen entered the pits such that there can have been no necessity to keep Alonso in the pits for 20 seconds waiting for a convenient gap in traffic in which to leave.
The stewards statement continued: The actions of the team in the final minutes of Qualifying are considered prejudicial to the interests of the competition and to the interests of motor sport generally. The penalty to be applied is that such points (if any) in the 2007 Formula One Constructors Championship as accrue to the team as a result of their participation in the 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix will be withdrawn.
McLaren will now race under appeal, with any constructors points they score in Hungary remaining provisional until that appeal is heard at a later date. Alonso has no right of appeal over his penalty.
n a separate incident, Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella was also demoted five places on the grid after he was deemed to have impeded Spyker's Sakon Yamamoto on track during Q1. Fisichella drops from eighth to 13th in the starting order.