Hamilton cleared of yellow flag breach
Lewis Hamilton has kept his front row start for the Austrian Grand Prix after being cleared of a possible yellow flag breach triggered by team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton had been following the #77 Mercedes around the Red Bull Ring right at the end of Q3 when Bottas, who had already set the time which proved good enough for pole, ran off exiting Turn 4 and spun on the grass.
The Briton was summoned to stewards for “Alleged failure to slow for single waved yellow flags between turn 5 and 7” having improved by a tenth of a second on that lap relative to his first run.
However, Hamilton was cleared of wrongdoing after a conflict between the light panels and actual flags was established.
“The driver mentioned that he passed a green light panel in turn 5,” explained stewards in their report.
“The video footage confirmed that there have been yellow flags and green light panels at the same time and therefore conflicting signals were shown to the driver.
“Taking this into account, the Stewards decide to take no further action.”
Daniel Ricciardo made mention of being disrupted by the yellows caused by Bottas on his way to 10th on the grid but Hamilton, speaking in the post-session press conference, claimed to have not seen them.
“I came ‘round the corner, I got on the power and I thought that Valtteri perhaps had just gone wide and come back on the track further up the road,” he recalled.
“I was looking out for the gravel on the track and for a car on the track, but there was nothing there so I continued.
“Then I saw as I was going into, I think it was to Turn 6 that Valtteri was much further to the left.
“It happened pretty quick and pretty big puff dust.”
Hamilton did cop one penalty of sorts from qualifying, with his first lap time of Q3 deleted for exceeding track limits at the exit of Turn 10, but that ended up being academic.
The six-time world champion will therefore take his place on the grid alongside Bottas on the front row this evening, with a start due at 23:10 AEST.