Charlie Whiting explains why Lewis Hamilton avoided punishment for 'potential block'

F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Previews

This weekend at the Brazilian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton secured his 10th win of the season and a fifth consecutive Constructors' Championship for his team. 

However, this Sunday's proceedings could well have been much different.

Hamilton has found himself under fire after an incident during the second part of Saturday's qualifiers.

While on an out lap, the Mercedes man backed off to allow teammate Valtteri Bottas some space in front.

Meanwhile, Hamilton found himself tangled in a close-call with Williams driver Sergey Sirotkin.

Sirotkin closely followed, flying around Turn 11. However, as Hamilton appears to try and move out of the way, he, in fact, obstructs Sirotkin, forcing the Russian slightly off course.

Hamilton later accused Sirotkin of 'disrespectful driving'. Although, he has since retracted those claims.

Many think that Hamilton was purposely blocking his opponent, some even calling for the 33-year-old to be punished.

However, FIA race director Charlie Whiting has explained why the five-time F1 champion has managed to avoid punishment.

He said: “Lewis was told Sergey was behind him but he was on an out-lap, so Lewis was thinking, ‘OK we’re fine here, I can do my usual routine, get a gap to the car in front'.

“[Then] Sergey was coming through Turn 11 flat out. Lewis saw him coming and thought ‘There’s a car on a fast lap the team didn’t tell me about’.

“So, he went to move over to let him through and Sergey had already committed left. That was the reason for the incident.

“For me it was just an unfortunate misunderstanding. It was clear immediately to me what happened, that nobody had done anything wrong.

F1 Grand Prix of Mexico - Previews

“I discussed it with the stewards, asked if they wanted it investigated and they felt no investigation was warranted.

"It would quite possibly have been quite a big shunt, but if you looked at the causes they would be the same.

“That’s why I would have thought the stewards would have come to the same conclusion.”

Hamilton went on to qualify in pole position for Sunday's Grand Prix, before emerging victorious in the big race itself.

F1 Grand Prix of Brazil

Sirotkin qualified in P15, but says he was not 'too angry' after Saturday's incident.

He said: "Because I was coming so quickly, I didn't expect him to give me the room as we were both on out laps.

"I had such a big speed difference with him, that I just moved myself to the left to get through and, at the last minute, he saw me and tried to move.

"I was like 200km/h quicker than him at that point on the left so it was quite difficult to get around and to avoid the contact.

Could Hamilton have been stripped of pole-position if an investigation was opened? How would that have affected his weekend overall?

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