Lewis Hamilton has reacted with surprise that the FIA has enforced a rule that the red flag will be thrown instead of double yellow flags in an effort to fairly neutralise a qualifying session.
In the wake of controversy surrounding Nico Rosberg's pole-winning lap in the Hungarian Grand Prix – which was achieved after a 0.1s loss of time when lifting in a double waved yellow flag area -, the FIA says red flags will be shown instead going forward during qualifying to create a blanket slowdown that benefits no driver.
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Though the move comes as a reaction to Hamilton's apparent approach to stewards – which many deemed to be a complaint - about Rosberg's lap in Hungary, the man himself remained unimpressed, declaring that red flags are unnecessary because double yellows should be sufficient to simply go slower in the affected area.
“It doesn't need to be red flagged,” he said, laughing when informed of the rule. “So that means when Fernando is facing the other way around the other day it will be red flagged? We just need to obey to go a lot slower. Take caution. That is what it is supposed to be. It is just different to what we had in the past. It was different last weekend and it is different again. As long as it is clear.
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Pushed further on whether the decision is good sense, Hamilton is not convinced, saying it is not a 'perfect solution' because it also doesn't address normal yellow flags, in which drivers are also supposed to slow.
“You are not supposed to go green or purple. You should be a certain amount slower than your previous lap. Stopping the session guarantees it. It still doesn't address what happens after a yellow flag, which you can kind of cheat and people will cheat. It needs to be thought out more.
“Nico Hulkenberg had the smallest lift [during Q1 for the Austrian GP]… literally foot 100%, 0%, back to 100 within a tenth of a second. We will still have problems moving forward. It is not the perfect solution. They have to come up with something better, for sure.”
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