Lewis Hamilton’s woeful week continued this morning when the world champion was fined by the FIA for speeding in the pits during the first practice session today for the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The reigning world champion arrived in Malaysia on a high after a solid performance in Australia last week when he went from 18th on the starting grid to third.
But he learned yesterday that he had been disqualified from the Melbourne race after he was found to have lied to race stewards during a hearing on an incident that saw him passed by the Toyota of Jarno Trulli during a safety car period in the closing stages.
Hamilton still faces the possibility of suspension or disqualification from the championship as a result of the incident.
He appeared to shrug off those fears by recording the seventh fastest time during the practice session at Sepang this morning by clocking one minute, 36:699 seconds – 0.439 secs behind timesheet leader Nico Rosberg of Williams.
But the Englishman once again incurred the wrath of the FIA for exceeding the pit lane speed limit by going at 65.3 km/h, earning a €1,200 fine.
Hamilton’s build-up to the race has been completely overshadowed by his disqualification from the Australian Grand Prix after being found by race stewards to have withheld evidence at a hearing after the race.
He had been elevated from fourth to third after Trulli was handed a 25-second penalty for passing him during a safety car period late in the race.
But the case was re-opened by the FIA yesterday after evidence was produced of a radio transmission between Hamilton and the pit wall which revealed that he had been told by his pit wall to allow Trulli to pass.
The stewards determined that by not admitting that evidence at the hearing, Hamilton and McLaren had “acted in a manner prejudicial to the conduct of the event by providing evidence deliberately misleading to the stewards.”
There is also the threat of further sanctions as the situation contravenes the International Sporting Code and the FIA have it within their power to pursue the matter further.
An FIA spokesperson confirmed: “Given the seriousness of this matter, we cannot rule out further action at this stage.”