Formula 1 Lewis Hamilton has claimed the Russian Grand Prix stewards were “trying to stop me” from winning after picking up a double penalty.

Hamilton is just one incident away from an F1 race ban after he received two more penalty points on Sunday in Russia, alongside a 10-second time penalty during the race after he was found to have breached the FIA’s practice starts procedure on two occasions.

The Mercedes driver completed two illegal practice starts before the race and was handed two five-second time penalties for the violations.

Hamilton dropped to 11th after serving the penalty in his pit stop and ultimately recovered to finish third in Sochi as he missed the chance to equal Michael Schumacher’s all-times wins record of 91 victories.

“I need to go back and see what the rules are, what exactly I did wrong. I’m pretty sure no one has ever got two five-second penalties for something so ridiculous before,” Hamilton told Sky after the race.

“I didn’t put anyone in danger, I’ve done this at a million tracks over the years and never been questioned over it. But it is what it is.”

Asked whether he felt the punishment was excessive, Hamilton replied: “Of course it is, and it is to be expected. They are trying to stop me.”

Pushed on whether he truly believes the FIA were trying to stop him from winning, Hamilton said: “Of course. But it’s OK. I’ll just keep my head down and stay focused and see what happens.”

With Valtteri Bottas claiming his second victory of the season in Russia, Hamilton has had his championship advantage cut to 44 points with seven rounds remaining.

 

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