Okay, let’s cut to the chase. Lewis Hamilton’s drive-through penalty was harsh – but what else could the officials do? There is no lesser punishment and there is no question that Hamilton gained an advantage when he passed the Toro Rosso of Sebastian Vettel going into Turn 6.
It doesn’t matter in the slightest that he had gained the place before turning in to the corner. The fact is that he did it by carrying so much speed that there was no way he could get round the corner, as demonstrated by the McLaren having to take to the run-off and by-pass the second part of the chicane, Turn 7.
I don’t blame Hamilton for pressing on – in fact, it was great to watch – but his biggest mistake was not to let Vettel re-take the place immediately, much as drivers do when they over-shoot the harbour chicane at Monaco.
Then it would have been ‘job done’ rather than undergo the drive-through that wrecked his chances of taking points.
Should the team have advised Hamilton immediately the incident had taken place? Maybe they missed the initial television shots. Maybe they didn’t. That is a matter between Hamilton and his increasingly embattled team.
Hamilton’s biggest threat now is letting a perceived injustice play on his mind as the season reaches the half way point and he finds himself 10 points behind the championship leader going into the British Grand Prix. Ten points is not an insurmountable gap with 10 races to go. It’s been done before. Ask Kimi Raikkonen.