Lewis Hamilton says he bracing to receive a grid penalty going forward after picking up his second reprimand in three races during the Russian Grand Prix.
The defending champion was punished by stewards after qualifying for running wide at the tricky turn two right-hander and failing to return to the circuit in the designated manner. With Hamilton arguing it would have been too marginal to switch lines to get around the bollard marking out the correct re-entry point, he avoided a grid penalty but was reprimanded instead.
Following on from his reprimand in Bahrain when he reversed his Mercedes in the pit lane after coming to a stop at the wrong point, it means Hamilton is now just one further punishment away from receiving a ten place grid penalty in any of the remaining 17 races.
Relaying a story about a particular 'arsehole' steward from his karting days, Hamilton is frustrated to have been placed under pressure from a 'ridiculous penalty'.
“I'm aware that there most likely could be a ten-place penalty - the last one was pretty ridiculous,” he said. “It's quite funny you know, when I was in karting there was one steward who was just there to make everyone's weekend a bad weekend and I'm starting to have reminiscent experiences.
“It's like families would turn up, paying so much money to be there, and there's this one guy, a complete arsehole, who was there to ruin everyone's weekend and I'm starting to see signs of him…”
Indeed, it was pointed out that Hamilton could have faced a penalty in the race itself after he ran off track at turn two to avoid the lap one melee, re-emerging in fifth position having started tenth. Having been involved in turn one incidents in each of the opening three races, Hamilton says he played safe after seeing an incident unfold in the corner of his eye.
“I was on the outside – I didn't get a very good start performance-wise – and I couldn't really see things inside me until I was braking and turning in. As I turned in, I saw in the corner of my eye something.”