The F1 world champion had run broad by means of the gravel lure and nudged into the boundaries on the Tosa hairpin on lap 31, after he hit a damp patch while lapping backmarker George Russell.
Caught in opposition to the boundaries, Hamilton spent ages making an attempt to work out how you can get going once more – with it fairly clear he wanted to go backwards.
After partaking reverse gear, Hamilton backed up right through the gravel lure and on to the observe earlier than getting going once more.
Such motion raised eyebrows, nonetheless, with some suggesting that it was each harmful and in opposition to the principles to reverse on to a dwell race observe.
It additionally triggered well-known recollections of the 1989 Portuguese Grand Prix when Nigel Mansell was given the black flag for having reversed within the pitlane after skidding previous his pit crew as he got here in for contemporary rubber.
Nonetheless, whereas Mansell had the rule guide thrown at him at the present time, Hamilton’s manoeuvre was given the all clear by the FIA.
The explanations are literally fairly easy.
Within the Mansell case, the principles stay in place immediately that vehicles can’t be reversed below their very own energy down the pitlane.
Article 28.three of F1’s sporting rules states: “At no time could a automobile be reversed within the pit lane below its personal energy.”
When a automobile is on observe, although, there may be nothing particular within the rules that states vehicles can’t be pushed in reverse gear.
In truth, the rationale that it’s necessary for F1 vehicles to have a reverse gear is as a result of it ensures drivers have a capability to maneuver themselves backwards if wanted to get well from an incident.
The one requirement on a driver if he’s reversing is for it’s performed in a secure method.
Article 27.three of the Sporting Laws states: “Ought to a automobile go away the observe the driving force could re-join, nonetheless, this may occasionally solely be performed when it’s secure to take action and with out gaining any lasting benefit.”
Article 27.four provides: “At no time could a automobile be pushed unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a way which might be deemed probably harmful to different drivers or some other individual.”
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, heads to the pits with a damaged entrance wing
Picture by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
Through the moments when Hamilton’s automobile was off observe, F1 race director Michael Masi was observing the state of affairs and listening in on the staff radio.
And he was glad that the messages being despatched to Hamilton, advising him of site visitors and the place he was in relation to the circuit, meant that his transfer was performed safely.
“What it was, was reversing out of the gravel lure to the sting of the circuit,” he stated. “Listening to Lewis’s radio between him and his staff, they have been completely advising him right through the place that was.
“So in that specific circumstance, I would not think about reporting that to the stewards.”
Masi stated such incidents are at all times judged primarily based on the circumstances, so had Hamilton reversed on to the observe in a harmful method then that might have been completely different.
“It is a case by case foundation, that you might want to evaluate the entire set of circumstances that sit round it,” added Masi.
Reflecting on the moments when he was caught within the barrier, Hamilton stated that it took an age for his reverse gear to get chosen.
“It simply wouldn’t backtrack so I used to be holding the reverse button and it took endlessly to interact,” he stated. “I didn’t suppose it was going to work. I attempted reversing after which tried to form of do a burn out spin to get going once more and I used to be again within the barrier. So then it took a very long time once more to get again in reverse.
“Once I was reversing, I used to be like, I’ve simply bought to maintain going backwards and work my approach out in reverse. And if I hadn’t performed that I’d in all probability nonetheless have been there now, so I’m grateful for it.”