Lewis Hamilton has been in Formula 1 for some time now. The seven-time world champion started racing in the sport all the way back in 2007 with McLaren. He made an instant impact, finishing his first season with four race wins and second in the championship table.
His second year in 2008, where he won his first world championship, was filled with controversies. One of these came at the Belgian GP. Hamilton won the race but his victory was taken from him two hours after the race by a 25-second penalty for an incident.
Lewis Hamilton’s controversial penalty, which cost him the 2008 F1 Belgian GP win
In the 2008 Belgian GP, Lewis Hamilton successfully stuck to pole position in the qualifying session and started strong in the main race. However, he accidentally spun on the second lap, which allowed former driver Kimi Raikkonen to take the lead in his Ferrari.
At around Lap 41, Hamilton was quite close to Raikkonen and tried to overtake him at the Bus Stop chicane. However, he was slightly squeezed off the track and had to take the escape road.
Though he was ahead of Raikkonen by that time, Hamilton gave the position back since he had gained an unfair advantage by taking the escape road. The Brit once again took the lead of the race at the first corner, right after he gave back the position to Raikkonen.
The tussle between the two drivers went on for quite some time before Kimi Raikkonen lost control of his Ferrari and crashed into the barriers, ending his race. This gave Hamilton the opportunity to win the 2008 F1 Belgian GP.
After celebrations on the podium and in the garage, Lewis Hamilton and McLaren learned dreadful news two hours after the race. The FIA stewards issued a statement in which they handed Hamilton a 25-second penalty for cutting a corner and gaining an advantage on Kimi Raikkonen during the race without serving the drive-through penalty for it.
The hefty time penalty meant that the Briton lost the Belgian GP win to second-placed Felipe Massa.
McLaren lodged an official complaint with the FIA about the incident. The case was taken to court, where McLaren’s lawyer Mark Philips tried to convince the judge that the penalty was unfair. Race director Charlie Whiting also stated that Hamilton giving the place back to Raikkonen on the main straight was correct.
The court did not reverse the decision from the FIA and Lewis Hamilton never got back his 2008 F1 Belgian GP victory.