The two penalty points Lewis Hamilton was given at the Russian Grand Prix have been rescinded in a dramatic U-turn by the FIA.

Mercedes has instead been handed a €25,000 fine over the error which led to Hamilton’s practice start violations.

Hamilton recovered to finish third in Sunday’s race after he was hit with a 10-second time penalty for breaching the pre-event notes on practice starts before the Russian Grand Prix.

The FIA had originally also handed Hamilton two penalty points on his drivers’ licence – taking him to within two points of a race ban – but has reversed its decision after new information was provided by Mercedes after the race.

An FIA stewards statement read: “The stewards received information from the team that the driver of car 44 had received a team instruction to perform the practice start in the incorrect place. This was confirmed by the Stewards having listened to the audio between the Team and the Driver.

“Based on this information the Stewards replace document 46 with this decision and therefore remove the penalty points imposed and fine the competitor (Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team) €25,000.”

Hamilton had claimed that F1’s stewards were “trying to stop me” from winning the race in Sochi by dishing out what he described as a “ridiculous” penalty.

Mercedes F1 team boss Toto Wolff labelled Hamilton’s double penalty as “far-fetched” and said the team disagreed with the FIA over the outcome, though he stressed he would not apportion blame for the incident.

"The errors always happen together," Wolff said. "It's not a team error, it's not a Lewis error. And I wouldn't want to point at anybody, and I've never done that.”

Hamilton now has eight points on his licence for the current 12-month period and will have to wait until after the Turkish Grand Prix in November before any more points are removed from his tally.

Hamilton holds a 44-point lead over Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas heading into the final seven races of the season.

 

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