Lewis Hamilton has called on the FIA to better clarify the rules regarding flags after Nico Rosberg snatched pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix with a fastest time set amidst waved yellows.
The defending champion was on course for a personal best lap when he set the fastest time in the first sector, only to slow on the run to Turn 8 when he encountered the spun McLaren of Fernando Alonso.
With almost every other driver aborting their laps as a result, Mercedes team-mate Rosberg stayed on pace in the run up to Turn 7 with yellow flags evident on television replays. The disputed Turn 8 corner, however, was clear by the time Rosberg reached it with the track returning to green flag conditions as he approached it.
With Rosberg going on to take pole position, though no investigation was initially launch into the legality of the lap time – with Rosberg insisting he made a 'very, very big lift' to acknowledge the flags -, the stewards did look into it several hours after qualifying.
Though Rosberg was clared, Hamilton feels the FIA needs to better clarify what constitutes an acceptable interpretation of the ruling.
“It needs to be clarified more and for us drivers we need to fully understand the yellow flag situation because obviously the way that it is written is not potentially how it is interpreted by the stewards or the drivers,” he said.
“When it is a yellow flag it says that you have to be prepared to slow down or you have to slow down and lose some time. When it is a double yellow it says be prepared for a car or steward on track because you don't know what is around the corner so you have to be prepared to stop, that is what it says.
With Rosberg setting the fastest second sector time of the qualifying sessions – which can in part be explained by the rapidly evolving track conditions following earlier rain -, Hamilton wants to know if losing a tenth in a similar situation is all it takes to avoid punishment.
“Nico only lost a tenth at the corner so if that is really what we are allowed to do in future... even if you lift when you approach a corner with due care if that is allowed on a double yellow, I thought that was the case in a single yellow but maybe on a double I thought you had to pay more caution to it, if it is only a tenth you have to lose that is now different for us drivers and we can approach it differently. I'm sure not that is the safest approach.
“We've seen such incidents in the past. I seem to remember Maldonado nearly hitting a marshal at Monaco one time because he hadn't slowed down enough and there was a marshal on the track.
“It is really to make sure it is very, very clear because it is not our safety but the safety on whether there is a car, driver or marshal on the track.
“So just more clarification would be good so that in the future…for me there was no question I had to lift because Fernando was on track but perhaps for Nico I think Fernando had cleared but there were still flags. It is just a different scenario.”