But the defining second that triggered the Monza shock was when race chief Lewis Hamilton was handed a 10-second stop-go penalty for coming into a closed pitlane to alter tyres.
Such a guidelines breach is deemed a severe offence, and it took Hamilton out of rivalry for the win on a day he appeared set to cruise to victory.
Here we have a look at the background to the incident that modified the form of the race, and clarify the circumstances.
Why was the pitlane closed?
Kevin Magnussen had been battling from the again of the sphere, after selecting up entrance wing harm on the opening lap that had required a substitute. However, after 17 laps he floor to a halt with a suspected energy unit downside on the exit of Parabolica.
After pulling over subsequent to the obstacles on the precise aspect of the monitor, the FIA felt that the most suitable choice to retrieve the automotive was to push it forwards down the pitlane.
So with marshals probably uncovered to automobiles because the moved Magnussen, F1 race director Michael Masi determined that the most suitable choice was to shut the pitlane and to deliver out the protection automotive.
Why wasn’t Magnussen’s automotive pulled again behind the obstacles?
The Safety Car Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W11, and Lance Stroll, Racing Point RP20
Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images
When Magnussen’s automotive got here to a halt, he had intentionally parked it by a spot within the Armco obstacles. It appeared logical that the automotive would merely be pulled again into the outlet and the matter handled beneath native yellow flags.
However, Masi has defined that the hole there may be not really large enough for automobiles to suit by way of, and is simply there to permit quick access to incidents for marshals.
“There’s some of openings are vehicle openings, some of them are just marshal posts,” mentioned Masi.
“The ones that have the shorter orange band effectively are only a marshal post, and the car would not fit at that area. So the only safe place to remove [Magnussen’s car] was to push it down into pitlane because there was no other opening available.”
What warning did Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes get?
When the pitlane closed choice was made and the protection automotive known as out, Hamilton was already within the space of Parabolica.
As he got here by way of the nook, two pink pitlane standing lights on the surface, that are the common marshalling sign posts, had been flashing with a cross. This cross is to sign to drivers that the pitlane is closed.
The location of those lights is highlighted to groups in pre-event notes issued by the FIA, so each Mercedes and Hamilton ought to have been conscious of their location.
As Masi mentioned: “The map indicating those is distributed to all the teams in my event notes, and is part of the pitlane diagram. Obviously it is also in what forms part of the race director’s event notes, which is used for the drivers’ meeting.”
Further, there are two different warning techniques in place to assist groups in such circumstances. The software program that groups use to observe the monitor switches to point out the pitlane space in pink, whereas there may be additionally a notification made on one of many official F1 timing pages that the pitlane is closed.
How did Hamilton and Mercedes handle to overlook it?
The closure of the pitlane in such circumstances is kind of a race prevalence, with the final time it occurring being the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Hamilton admitted that he had not noticed the alerts, as his focus was on the precise hand aspect of the monitor and the place the Magnussen incident was.
Pitlane entry Monza
Photo by: FIA
Mercedes, within the cut up second during which it needed to react to the protection automotive, had additionally not noticed the modifications within the software program system nor the Timing Page.
As Mercedes boss Toto Wolff mentioned: “We spotted that last minute back home. One of the strategists just shouted into the radio whilst we were entering the pitlane.
“There was confusion, since you put together your self for the pit cease to make it good. Everybody on the pitlane, together with myself, we had been this case, and no one appears to be like at web page 4 [of timing] that the pitlane is closed.
“We can’t see the signs, and this is just a sequence of events that screwed Lewis’s race. Not happy, but you have to take it on the chin.”
Was Hamilton allowed to talk to the stewards in the course of the pink flag?
Hamilton clearly first felt that he had not handed any sign telling him that the pitlane was closed.
So in the course of the pink flag interruption triggered by Charles Leclerc’s sizeable accident, he took it upon himself to go and see the stewards and discover out what had occurred.
After the 2 gentle panels exhibiting the crosses had been identified to him, he accepted that he had made a mistake and put the matter behind him.
Some have recommended that it appeared barely unusual for Hamilton to have the ability to communicate to the stewards in such a manner, however the FIA is all the time open for discussions with opponents if they’ve points they wish to discuss.
As Masi mentioned: “There’s nothing stopping it, and thankfully we don’t have too many red flags. The stewards, like everyone, have very much an open-door policy. If someone has got a question, they can ask.”
Was Hamilton’s 10-second stop-go penalty too harsh?
The sanction handed all the way down to Hamilton is essentially the most excessive in-race time penalty that may be given. Indeed, it dropped him from the race result in nicely behind the again of the pack when he took it.
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 pit cease for penalty
Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images
While some have recommended that such an excessive penalty might not have been justified contemplating Hamilton had not gained that a lot from the cease, the dimensions of the penalty is definitely mandated within the guidelines.
Article 28.14 of the Sporting Regulations that covers the pitlane closure states: “A penalty under Article 38.3(d) (which is a 10-second stop-go) will be imposed on any driver who, in the opinion of the stewards, entered the pitlane for any other reason whilst it was closed.”
As Masi mentioned: “The simple part is that there is no flexibility within that. The stewards had a mandatory penalty that they must apply.”
The stop-go penalty was put within the guidelines after the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix when Daniel Ricciardo entered the closed pits and was handed only a five-second penalty.
Some groups felt that the time loss was too little, as extra time could possibly be gained from with the ability to change tyres at a second when the pits had been formally closed than misplaced by way of having the penalty added on on the finish of a race.
Teams are additionally usually consulted by the FIA over whether or not or not they agree with the dimensions of the penalties which might be handed down for sure offences.
As Masi mentioned: “All of the mandatory penalties were actually gone through one by one with all of the team sporting directors last year, to see those that we collectively felt needed to be changed, versus those that had to stay in.
“The sporting administrators unanimously agreed they needed to keep. All of the groups are nicely and really accustomed to the necessary penalties inside the sporting laws.”