Hamilton reprimanded after collision

Lewis Hamilton escaped with a slap on the wrist following his latest brush with the stewards to leave him clear to go all out for victory in the Belgian Grand Prix.

Something troubling Hamilton, perhaps?

Hamilton was involved in an incident with Pastor Maldonado at the end of the middle 15-minute qualifying run at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit as they became involved in a bout of bumper cars.

After claiming second on the grid behind Sebastian Vettel, who made it nine poles from 12 races this season, McLaren star Hamilton was simply reprimanded by the four-man panel of stewards that for this race includes former world champion Nigel Mansell.

Both drivers were charged with causing a collision, with Venezuelan Maldonado handed a five-place grid penalty, dropping him to 21st.

It was the second incident this season involving the two drivers, with the first in Monaco when Hamilton hit Maldonado late in the race through Ste Devote, sending him out when he was on course for his first points of the campaign.

On this occasion, Hamilton was on a flying lap and desperate to get into the top 10 as he had dropped out at that stage.

Coming out of the final corner of the bus-stop chicane ahead of the start-finish line, Hamilton bumped wheels with Maldonado's Williams as he squeezed up the inside in order to set his time.

Maldonado, however, then appeared to exact revenge on Hamilton as they made their way up the hill out of the first corner La Source hairpin.

Somewhat recklessly, Maldonado appeared to cut across Hamilton, so causing a crash from which the former was forced to pull off track, whilst the latter made it back to the garage with damage to his car.

Ahead of the top-10 shoot-out, McLaren sent Hamilton out with a new nose and with other parts of his car bandaged with gaffer tape, the 26-year-old then performing brilliantly to claim a front-row place for the third successive race.

"It wasn't the most exciting meeting at the stewards office, but another one on the list," said Hamilton, who has endured his fair share of such meetings with the grands prix law upholders.

"They played back my in-car footage, but they didn't have his for some reason, unfortunately, but it wasn't a racing incident.

"Through the last corner we just touched a little bit, and perhaps he was upset about that and just wanted to make a point to me, I don't know.

"I haven't spoken with him, but it's clear from the footage we're going down a straight which curves to the right.

"He's far on the right, I'm far on the left and I can't go any more to the left, and somehow his car ends up hitting me right in front.

"It did feel like quite a hard thump. It's up to everyone else to come up with their own opinions about it, but I didn't drive into anyone.

"I was actually quite lucky his rear wheel didn't hit my front and I didn't get more damage, or that he was flipped or had a big, big crash. We were lucky there."



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