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In a moment of confusion following Sebastian Vettel's crash, Hamilton was instructed to pit before being given a late call to stay out. In the process the Mercedes driver crossed the line separating the pit entry and the track – a breach of the FIA’s International Sporting Code.
However, after an investigation the stewards determined that a reprimand was the most appropriate punishment, rather than any kind of time penalty, meaning the Briton keeps his unexpected victory at Hockenheim.
In reaching their conclusion the stewards took into account three mitigating factors: that the team candidly admitted the mistake and the fact that there was confusion within the team about whether to pit or not; that the infringement took place during a Safety Car period; and that there was no danger to any other competitor and the change in direction was executed in a safe way.
“It was so confusing,” said Hamilton of the incident in the post-race press conference. “We came in, Kimi [Raikkonen] started turning in, they had asked me to box, and I said Kimi is pitting.
“Then they said stay out. I was already in the lane. So I turned out. And then they said stay in but I was already on track. I really felt this was the chance to do the opposite. That’s why I questioned it.”
With his victory, Hamilton now leads Vettel by 17 points in the drivers' standings heading to Hungary next weekend.