The FIA is looking into Lewis Hamilton’s actions on his in-lap after securing pole in qualifying in Montreal.
Hamilton was told by the team to stop on the circuit because he was so marginal on fuel that he was in risk of not having enough left for the FIA sample at the end of the session. The car must have at least 1-litre in the tank for scrutineering purposes.
He stopped on the straight before the pits and after coasting for a while, got out and pushed, before being picked up by the medical car and given a lift home.
The question mark is over the fact that drivers are given a lap time within which they have to return to the pits during qualifying, a legacy of the fuel saving days of several seasons ago.
The FIA view is that if a driver suffers a genuine problem and has to stop, it would be treated as force majeure, and that does not apply in this case.
Furthermore, in the two sectors that he completed he was well over the prescribed 30% limit. His first sector was 33s (as opposed to around 21s on a normal quick lap), and the middle sector was 55s (compared with 24s). In other words he would not have made the time even if he had finished the lap.
One chief engineer from a rival team told me: “It’s definitely illegal, they took advantage by cheating. Otherwise next time we’ll all put one less lap in the cars.”
While clearly there has to be some provision for drivers suffering a genuine mechanical problem after setting a time, it would seem that McLaren has some explaining to do. It’s thought they told the FIA there was a miscommunication in the team about the fuel level in Lewis’s car.