Hamilton given Indian Grand Prix grid penalty

By Sarah HoltBBC Sport in Greater Noida

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton has been handed a three-place grid penalty at the Indian Grand Prix for ignoring caution flags in first practice.

Sauber's Sergio Perez has been handed the same penalty, which arose at the end of the Friday morning session at the new Buddh International Circuit.

The penalty was for "ignoring double waved yellow flags while marshals were in close proximity to track".

Hamilton said he had no argument with the stewards' decision.

"I was engaging the DRS (overtaking device, which boosts straight-line speed) when the yellow flags were on and you're not allowed to," he said.

"I went in there and put my hands up and said I accept whatever penalty I get and they gave me one.

"I don't have any feelings. It is what it is. I'm a bit frustrated with myself as it's my fault - as usual.

"I just have to do what I can from wherever I qualify tomorrow. I have less hopes of pole - but tomorrow could be a different day."

Asked why he was being so self-critical, Hamilton replied: "I have no-one else to blame do I? There's only me driving."

Marshals were close to the race track attending to the Williams of Pastor Maldonado, who had stopped with an engine failure.

Both Hamilton and Perez set their fastest lap times while the caution flags were still waving, for which there is an instant penalty.

BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter Natalie Pinkham said: "Lewis Hamilton accepted it. He is frustrated, but has no real beef with the stewards."

The penalties to Hamilton and Perez makes it three drivers taking a grid drop in India - Renault's Vitaly Petrov was handed a five-place penalty for crashing into Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher at the Korean Grand Prix two weeks ago.

It is the latest in a series of incidents involving Hamilton this year.

Hamilton started the campaign with a second-place finish in Australia but came eighth in Malaysia following a drive-through penalty for weaving in front of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

He won in China but was embroiled in controversy in Monaco, launching a furious attack on stewards after twice being penalised.

A coming together with team-mate Jenson Button led to Hamilton retiring from the Canadian Grand Prix, though Button went on to triumph.

His race in Belgium was ended by a collision with Kamui Kobayashi's Sauber, while he clashed with Ferrari's Felipe Massa in Singapore and Japan ahead of a second-place finish in Korea.

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