Haas F1 driver Esteban Gutierrez is upset with the lack of respect Hamilton showed him immediately after showing disrespect himself.
The exchange between Hamilton and Gutierrez on track occurred in the final stint of the race. Hamilton was left following an unaware Gutierrez around half a lap as his lead over Rosberg fell from around 2 seconds to 0.5.
When Gutierrez finally moved aside, Hamilton was rightly pissed. He raised his middle-finger to the Mexican as an adrenaline-induced ‘thank-you’. Clearly unaware of any wrong-doing, Gutierrez said this on twitter:
Being a world champion doesn't give you the right to be disrespectful to your competitors, my friend @LewisHamilton
— Esteban Gutierrez (@EstebanGtz) July 24, 2016
In direct response, being grid-filler doesn’t give you the right to hold up the leaders of the race.
Haas team boss Gunther Steiner gave his perspective, he said,
“It’s one thing Esteban got penalised with five seconds – and we still need to check the data and the timing – but I think the five seconds were taken because the gesture was done, not because he was holding him up.
Every racing driver is the same, they want to go – and Esteban cannot go up in fresh air, he cannot jump.
It’s a little bit give and take, I think Lewis didn’t change his result in the hold-up. Was it needed? Maybe not. But it happened. For me, the five seconds were given because of the gesture.”
– Gunther Steiner
Whilst there is an argument to be made for the midfield’s inability to simply vanish, a look at the amount of opportunities Gutierrez had to let the Mercedes past shows that the penalty was well deserved. Other drivers had the awareness to do it quickly whilst Gutierrez became a hold-up because he was on the cusp of points in his own race.
Hamilton chipped in with a comment on the incident, adding,
“It wasn’t good today in terms of getting through traffic. Some of the drivers were lifting at the most awkward positions, where if you went into the corner too quick you might collide. It was definitely difficult to navigate through them today.
The one with the Gutierrez – he just didn’t abide by the flags that I could see were being waved at him. I lost so much time behind him, and at the same time Nico was catching me, which was really, really tough. Fortunately I eventually got by him down the straight.”
– Lewis Hamilton
It’s interesting that the Haas pit-wall are eagle-eyed in spotting Hamilton flipping the bird, but don’t have the vision to tell their own driver what a blue flag means…