"If they are not satisfied that the reasons were beyond the control of the driver or team, and feel that this has been done deliberately to gain a competitive advantage, appropriate action will be taken," the directive added.
A penalty would be a crushing blow for Hamilton, who clearly dominated qualifying right from the start despite unexpectedly stuff competition from Maldonado.
"It was a massive margin," said Whitmarsh of Hamilton's pole position time. "He undoubtedly deserves to be there."
Hamilton had an earlier encounter with the stewards in a row over an incident with Michael Schumacher in the morning Free Practice 3 session, during which Michael Schumacher's Mercedes appeared to return to the track right in front of the McLaren
and impede a flying lap by Hamilton. However, the stewards declined to take any further action over the incident.