Lewis Hamilton insists there will be no repeat of his in-race penalties from the 2020 Formula 1 season, saying the the stewards “won’t be able to catch me out again”.
Hamilton was handed three penalties during a grand prix this year that began at the season opener in Austria, where he collided with Red Bull’s Alexander Albon and received a five-second time penalty that lost him a podium finish.
The next occurrence came at the Italian Grand Prix, when Hamilton received a 10-second stop/go penalty for entering the pitlane after it had been closed.
The Briton had been leading at the point the penalty was given, dropping him to last place and only recovering to seventh by the chequered flag.
Hamilton was then on the receiving end of two five-second time penalties in Russia for completing a practice start in the wrong area. He voiced his anger at the decision labelling it “ridiculous”, and felt the stewards were “trying to stop me”.
Reflecting on his comments, Hamilton said they had come in the heat of the moment, believing it was a natural “human reaction”.
“Ultimately you say things in the heat of the moment,” Hamilton said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“When you feel that you’re swimming against a tide sometimes, that is I think a human reaction. Looking back, we can always look and think we can do things differently.
“I think we’ve grown. There’s been a lot of growth I think this year, both as a sport and the steps that we’ve taken.
“Probably for myself, my experience – I rarely do get to see the stewards, but I think with the FIA and with the stewards, I think there’s been a growth of respect between us, and understanding.”
Ultimately, the penalties had no bearing on Hamilton’s season as he wrapped up a record-equaling seventh F1 drivers’ title, but all three sanctions did occur in races he failed to win.
Hamilton was clear that he still felt the penalties had been “unnecessary”, but said he’d “learned a lot” from the experiences.
“I learned a lesson from it, and they won’t be able to catch me out for that again, that’s for sure,” Hamilton said.
“I’ve just got to be very vigilant and diligent moving forwards.
“Naturally as an athlete, I’m always trying to find an edge, I’m always trying to find that extra, extra bit. It’s a fine line between being over the edge and beneath it.
“It’s fine if that one was over the edge. I learned from it, and it won’t happen again.”