Lewis Hamilton has again fallen foul of the stewards to quickly sour his Indian Grand Prix experience.
Hamilton has been penalised with a drop of three grid positions for Sunday’s inaugural race at the Buddh International Circuit, along with Sauber’s Sergio Perez.
Both drivers have been hit hard after ignoring double waved yellow flags at the end of today’s opening practice session whilst Pastor Maldonado’s Williams was being recovered following a spin.
Marshals were in close proximity to the track at the time Hamilton and Perez flashed past en route to setting their fastest laps.
Hamilton ultimately ended up with the quickest time of one minute 26.836secs, beating double world champion Sebastian Vettel’s lap by more than half a second.
However, the 26-year-old McLaren driver is unlikely to be far from impressed after receiving what is his sixth penalty of a troubled season.
In particular, it would appear to be a case of Hamilton again not using his head and thinking straight despite the obviousness of the situation.
The stewards, that for this weekend include Johnny Herbert, have had no choice but to act, especially in light of two recent motor sport fatalities.
The deaths of Dan Wheldon in an IndyCar event in Las Vegas and Marco Simoncelli in MotoGP in the last two weeks have been uppermost in the drivers’ minds this weekend.
The stewards have undoubtedly taken into account the safety of the marshals was compromised when Hamilton and Perez ignored the double yellows, which is a stark warning to drivers to slow down.
Hamilton was most likely to again challenge Vettel for pole, after claiming his first for 27 races in Korea less than two weeks ago. Now the way is clear for the German to push for the record.
Vettel currently has 12 to his name in 2011, two behind the mark set by Nigel Mansell in 1992, while Red Bull need just one more to set a new record of 16 for a team in a single season.