The rules anomaly that saved Hamilton from harsher punishment
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The rules anomaly that saved Hamilton from harsher punishment

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OPINION: Mercedes was aggrieved that Lewis Hamilton was demoted three places on the grid for the Austrian GP within an hour of the race start, but it could have been a lot worse had the rules been applied differently

Lewis Hamilton has driven almost faultlessly over the past three seasons, winning 31 races, smashing Ayrton Senna's pole position record and racking up a hat-trick of world championship titles, but his performance in last weekend's Austrian Grand Prix was out of sorts and below the high standards we've come to expect. And he was fortunate things didn't turn out even worse.

Having peerlessly topped all three practice sessions at the Red Bull Ring, Hamilton made three significant errors of judgement in the crucial moments of the weekend: exceeding track limits at the final corner on his first run in Q3; failing to slow for a stationary yellow flag/light after Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas went off on the exit of Turn 4 during their final Q3 runs; then tapping Alexander Albon's Red Bull-Honda into a spin at the same corner late in the race while trying to defend second place.

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