Lewis Hamilton will be fined if Mercedes star snubs FIA for third year in a row | F1 | Sport

Formula 1 legend Lewis Hamilton is set to be punished if he fails to attend the 2023 FIA Prize Gala. The seven-time champion has not been present at the last two editions of the prestigious ceremony.

According to FIA regulations, champions are only crowned at the Gala which takes place at the end of the season. It is mandatory for drivers who finished in the top three of the driver standings to be present. Hamilton came second in 2021 but he chose not to go to the Gala due to the controversial manner in which he lost the championship at that year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver was also absent from the 2022 Prize Gala. However, he came sixth at the end of a disappointing 2022 campaign, and therefore he was not required to be at last year’s event. In 2023, with one race remaining, Hamilton has enjoyed a much improved season. The 38-year-old is third in the driver standings and is guaranteed to finish the year in the spot regardless of the outcome in Abu Dhabi next Sunday.

As a result, Hamilton will be required to make an appearance at the 2023 Prize Gala along with second-place Sergio Perez and the now three-time World Champion, Max Verstappen. If he fails to appear, he will be subject to a fine from the FIA. Several laps from the end of 2021’s final race in Abu Dhabi, the 38-year-old was cruising to a record eighth world title before Nicolas Latifi crashed several laps from the end, which brought out the safety car.

Former race director Michael Masi initially instructed that lapped cars could not overtake the safety vehicle until it left the track. This means there would not have been time for Verstappen to get behind his rival before the allotted number of laps had been completed.

However, the Australian shockingly and controversially changed his mind, allowing the cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to un-lap themselves before ordering the safety car off the track. Therefore, the Dutchman was allowed to go side by side with the British driver before overtaking him in a one-lap shootout, benefiting from driving on far newer tires and sealing his first ever world title.

Still furious from Masi’s actions on that day, Hamilton chose to skip the Prize Gala and later received a fine. In March 2022, the British driver said the money would go towards helping underprivileged students. Before the first race of the 2022 campaign, he said: “There will be some sort of fine re: the gala.

“But we’ve worked together to make sure that the money will be put towards youths from underprivileged backgrounds [to help] them get into motorsport engineering.” In 2022, Hamilton won the Action of the Year award as voted for by fans, but he was not in the building to personally collect it. He won it for his spectacular fight with Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez at the 2022 British Grand Prix.

More specifically, it was for overtaking both of them in the same move. Hamilton finished third in that race, while Carlos Sainz went on to claim his very first F1 race win. It remains to be seen if Hamilton will be at the 2023 Prize Gala, but before that, he will hope for a strong finish to the season at Sunday’s Abu Dhabi GP.

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