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Hamilton penalised for ignoring warning flags

Briton loses three places on the starting grid ending his chances of pole position at the inaugural Indian Grand Prix

McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton steers his car
Image Credit: AP
McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton steers his car during the first practice session ahead oftomorrow’s Indian Grand Prix. Hamilton was penalised for ignoring warning flags.
Gulf News

New Delhi: A frustrated Lewis Hamilton fell foul of the Formula One stewards once again Friday, when he was handed a three-place penalty on the starting grid for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix after ignoring yellow warning flags in practice.

The McLaren driver had set the fastest lap, in the final seconds, in the first ever session run at the Buddh International circuit.

Sauber's Mexican Sergio Perez was also handed a similar sanction after stewards ruled he had committed the same offence of ignoring double-waved yellow flags at turn 16 while a car was being recovered by marshals in close proximity to the track.

The penalty ended Hamilton's hopes of a second successive pole position on today after qualifying fastest in the last race in South Korea.

It also boosted Red Bull's chances of setting a Formula One record of 16 poles in a single season. The champions have already chalked up 15.

"It's not good for the weekend. It doesn't look like we're the quickest at the moment so wherever we qualify, three places further back from there is going to make it tough for us. But it's not impossible," said Hamilton.

"We're already on the back foot, I've already put the team on the back foot with that penalty," added the 2008 world champion, who is fighting to finish runner-up in the championship.

Both titles have already been won by Sebastian Vettel and his Red Bull team.

The Briton has made regular appearances in front of the stewards this season after a series of crashes and controversies and been penalised six times.

Hamilton said he had not tried to argue his case in front of the stewards, one of them being fellow Briton and former racer Johnny Herbert.

"I went in there and I put my hands up and I said ‘I accept whatever penalty I get'. That's what I said, and they gave me one," he said.

"I don't really have any feelings towards it.

‘It's my fault'

"It is what it is. I'm a bit frustrated with myself. It's my fault, as usual. So I just have to do whatever I can from wherever I qualify tomorrow."

Ferrari's Felipe Massa surprisingly topped the second practice session. Massa had been off the pace of the top cars all season, but his time of one minute, 25.706 seconds was just good enough to push world champion Vettel into second, with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso third fastest.

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