By Andrew Atkinson
Seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton has been fined €5,000 for breaking F1 protocol in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix in Brazil.
Mercedes driver Hamilton raced from 10th to pole on November 14, overtaking rival Max Verstappen late on to close the gap on his Red Bull rival in the overall standings.
Hamilton was summoned to the stewards over an alleged breach of the sporting code, relating to his safety belts.
After taking the chequered flag, Hamilton, 36, stopped alongside a Marshal to take a Brazilian flag, to showcase around his victory lap.
In order to collect the flag he had to release his seatbelt to reach out and collect it.
“The driver of car 44, Lewis Hamilton, undid his seat belts on the in-lap at the end of the race,’ FIA stewards announced.
“While the Stewards are sympathetic to the desire to celebrate, it is fundamentally unsafe to undo the seatbelts while the car is in motion. Slow speeds in these cars are very fast for an unrestrained occupant.
“Further, Formula 1 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.”
Hamilton was also given an additional €20,000 fine, suspended to the end of the 2022 season.
Victory for Hamilton saw him move to within 14 points of Verstappen in the championship, with three races to go.
Caption: Hamilton stopped alongside a Marshal to take Brazilian flag, to showcase in victory lap.