The F1 world champion had run extensive via the gravel entice and nudged into the obstacles on the Tosa hairpin on lap 31, after he hit a damp patch while lapping backmarker George Russell.
Caught in opposition to the obstacles, Hamilton spent ages attempting to work out learn how to get going once more – with it fairly clear he wanted to go backwards.
After partaking reverse gear, Hamilton backed up right through the gravel entice and on to the observe earlier than getting going once more.
Such motion raised eyebrows, nevertheless, with some suggesting that it was each harmful and in opposition to the principles to reverse on to a reside race observe.
It additionally triggered well-known reminiscences 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.
Nevertheless, whereas Mansell had the rule e book thrown at him this present day, 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 as we speak that automobiles can’t be reversed below their very own energy down the pitlane.
Article 28.three of F1’s sporting laws states: “At no time might 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 laws that states automobiles can’t be pushed in reverse gear.
Actually, the explanation that it’s necessary for F1 automobiles to have a reverse gear is as a result of it ensures drivers have a capability to maneuver themselves backwards if wanted to get better from an incident.
The one requirement on a driver if he’s reversing is for it’s achieved in a protected method.
Article 27.three of the Sporting Rules states: “Ought to a automobile depart the observe the driving force might re-join, nevertheless, this may occasionally solely be achieved when it’s protected to take action and with out gaining any lasting benefit.”
Article 27.four provides: “At no time might a automobile be pushed unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a way which may very well be deemed probably harmful to different drivers or another individual.”
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, heads to the pits with a damaged entrance wing
Photograph 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 crew radio.
And he was happy 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 achieved safely.
“What it was, was reversing out of the gravel entice to the sting of the circuit,” he mentioned. “Listening to Lewis’s radio between him and his crew, they have been completely advising him right through the place that was.
“So in that exact circumstance, I would not think about reporting that to the stewards.”
Masi mentioned such incidents are all the time judged primarily based on the circumstances, so had Hamilton reversed on to the observe in a harmful method then that may have been completely different.
“It is a case by case foundation, that you could assessment the entire set of circumstances that sit round it,” added Masi.
Reflecting on the moments when he was caught within the barrier, Hamilton mentioned that it took an age for his reverse gear to get chosen.
“It simply wouldn’t backpedal so I used to be holding the reverse button and it took ceaselessly to have interaction,” he mentioned. “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.
“After I was reversing, I used to be like, I’ve simply obtained to maintain going backwards and work my manner out in reverse. And if I hadn’t achieved that I might most likely nonetheless have been there now, so I’m grateful for it.”