Lewis Hamilton went to see Formula 1 race director Michael Masi during the red flag period during the Italian Grand Prix to object against his penalty.

Mercedes driver Hamilton was handed a 10-second stop-go penalty for entering the pit lane when the pits were closed during the first Safety Car period on Sunday’s race at Monza.

The penalty dropped Hamilton to the very back of the field after the restart but he turned in a strong recovery drive to take seventh place – just two places behind teammate Valtteri Bottas - and limit the damage to his championship lead.

Hamilton was seen heading to race control during the red flag break and the six-times world champion visited Masi to argue his case against the penalty, claiming he had not seen the signal which warned the pit lane was closed.

“We discussed it because he said he didn’t see it, which is certainly true,” Mercedes F1 team boss Toto Wolff said. “He would never say something that wasn’t true.

“Those yellow crosses were on the outside of the corner. Nothing on the inside. No red light on the pit lane entry. And this is why he went to see Michael and told him ‘I didn’t see it’.”

Hamilton ultimately accepted the blame for the error after the race, having admitted he had failed to spot the yellow crosses on the boards.

Wolff moved to explain the error which “screwed” Hamilton’s race which he had been dominating having opened up a 15-second lead in the first stint.

"It was a weird sequence of events that maybe we could have spotted earlier," Wolff added.

"The decisions that were taken were highly unusual, but they were absolutely within the rules.

"One of the Haas [cars] was parked to the right, near the entry, on the inside of Parabolica, and there was a single yellow. 11 seconds later, a safety car was deployed.

"Once the safety car was deployed, they put the entry to the pitlane on red, but it wasn't exactly red, it was two yellow crosses on the outside.

"One of the strategists just shouted into the radio whilst we were entering the pitlane. There was confusion.

"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."

 

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