Lewis Hamilton has been summoned to the stewards for impeding Lance Stroll in the second practice session at the Australian Grand Prix. The seven-time champion attended the steward office at 8.30am BST (5.30pm local time in Melbourne). A message from the FIA said it was for “unnecessarily impeding Car 18 in Turn 13”. The incident in question happened at the start of Friday’s second free practice session when Carlos Sainz was caught behind Stroll. Hamilton was exiting the corner just ahead of the pair.
It came just hours after Hamilton and Stroll were involved in a similar encounter in FP1. Stroll moaned to his race engineer over team radio he had been impeded by the seven-time champion on the run to turn 11. The Mercedes driver had slowed down and didn’t see Stroll was on a quick lap behind. However, the stewards later confirmed that no further action would be taken on the incident.
Hamilton comes to Australia desperate to find performance after a poor start to 2022. The Briton is lying around 30 points behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the drivers’ standings after struggling in the opening two races. Hamilton picked up a podium in Bahrain but could only manage tenth in Saudi Arabia. It means his new team-mate George Russell is ahead of him in the points standings. Mercedes’ struggles continued on Friday with a lack of pace compared to their rivals.
Both drivers were outside the top 10 with Russell 11th and Hamilton 13th. Most concerning for the Silver Arrows is that many midfield teams seem to have taken a step forward this weekend. Alpine looked strong with Alonso only half a second off the pace-setting Ferrari of Charles Leclerc in fourth. Esteban Ocon was sixth fastest while McLaren has also improved on their performance in Saudi Arabia. Norris was eighth in FP2 with Ricciardo a tenth behind in his home Grand Prix. Both drivers were outside the top 10 with Russell 11th and Hamilton 13th.
Mercedes were expected to introduce new upgrades in Australia but these have not been installed. Team principal Toto Wolff has warned the team will not find an instant solution to their problems for this race weekend. He said: “There won’t be a magic fix for the next race weekend, but we’re pushing to steadily bring gains over the upcoming races, to hopefully move us closer to the front of the pack. “Until then, we need to maximise each opportunity and make the most of the package we have.”