Lewis Hamilton lost pole position thanks to a spin by Fernando Alonso in the final stages of qualifying, doing what he believed was correct according to the rules. With the situation clearing for Nico Rosberg, despite yellow flags being out through the sector and on display for Nico Rosberg, the German continued and completed his lap.
Incidentally that lap was the quickest of the session, with the German then taking pole position with no defence possible from Lewis Hamilton given the chequered flag had already been flown.
It didn’t ultimately matter though, Hamilton taking the lead at the first corner, and controlling the race for another win, but the disagreement continued into the race press conference on Sunday.
Upon being asked about the yellow flag situation Hamilton said, “Well the stewards needs to come up with some kind of solution because it is… the whole 23 years of racing, it has been ‘if it’s yellow flag, you slow down’ and if it’s double yellow flag, you be prepared to stop and Nico was doing the same speed at the apex as I was doing on the previous timed lap.
“If there happened to be a car that was spun or a marshal on the track, it would have been pretty hard for him to have slowed down in that case, so that’s why… and the fact that he didn’t get penalised for it means that we need to be careful because the message we’re sending not only to the drivers here but also to the drivers in the lower categories is that it’s now possible for you to lose only one tenth of a second in a double waved yellow flag section which is the most dangerous – one of the most dangerous scenarios with the double yellow flags.
“They need to clear that up because before it was two tenths that you were meant to lose with one yellow flag and half a second with two yellow flags.
“It wasn’t the case yesterday and there was no penalty, so going into the next race, we could be battling for pole position and we see double yellow flags and we know we only have to do a small lift and lose one tenth of a second and we’ll be fine and go purple in the sector.
” So that’s why it does need to be clarified and I’m sure Charlie and the stewards are going to do so because it needs to be clear.”
Sitting awkwardly next to Hamilton, Nico Rosberg gave his reply, “Can I respond? Thank you very much.
“Thank you for making that statement, so now I’m going to put my response.
“What you have to do with a double yellow is significantly reduce your speed and make sure you go safe. I went twenty kilometres per hour slower into that corner, twenty kilometres per hour is a different world in an F1 car. Twenty kilometres per hour, you are going proper slow. It’s completely… everything is safe.
“That’s how I did my speed and lifted off thirty meters before my braking point, so I was just rolling there, twenty kilometres per hour slower until I got to the apex. Then of course when you’re in the apex, I would have a much tighter line because I went in slow and then so I could accelerate out again.
“So definitely I significantly reduced my speed and that’s what it says you need to do and that’s why for the stewards that was completely acceptable. It was very very obvious what I did, very clear and of course on a drying track you’re going to get massively faster every lap. It’s not like the track was consistent. On a drying track, it’s irrelevant what the sector time was because you’re going to get so much quicker every time you go out there because there’s wet patches and when they dry, you just go so much quicker. And so in that segment, I was slower, where there was the yellow flag but of course in the big sector, yeah, I’m quicker because the track is getting quicker and I’m pushing in all the other corners.
“So it was a pretty clear case for the stewards and that’s why I didn’t get any penalty.”
This is clearly going to be one of those things that lingers between the two, each having a different view on the situation.