SAFETY ISSUES: Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg had different views over the latter's controversial pole lap at the 2016 Hungarian GP. Image: AP / Luca Bruno
Budapest - Stewards at the Hungarian Grand Prix sent the wrong message about yellow warning flags abuse by failing to penalise Nico Rosberg, his Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton said after winning Sunday's Hungarian GP (July 25).
The defending three-time world champion and new leader of the 2016 title race said their failure to act had encouraged drivers, in all categories, to take scant notice of flags and endangered marshals and other on-track personnel.
Hamilton said in a post-race news conference: "The fact he didn't get penalised means we have to be careful because the message we send to the drivers here, and also in the lower categories, is that it's now possible for you to lose only one-tenth of a second in the double waved yellow flag section, which is one of the most dangerous scenarios.
"Before, it was two-tenths with one yellow flag and half a second with two yellow flags. So, going into the next race, we could be battling for pole and we see double yellow flags and we know we have only to do a small lift - only to lose one-tenth of a second and we'll be fine."
READ: As it happened - 2016 Hungarian GP
Hamilton spoke out 24 hours after Rosberg had survived a stewards' inquiry into his pole-position lap on Saturday when he demonstrated he had lifted off and slowed sufficiently to satisfy them in a double waved yellows zone after Fernando Alonso had spun in his McLaren.
Hamilton had encountered the same zone seconds earlier when Alonso's car was facing the wrong direction. He lifted off and lost half a second. When Rosberg came there, Alonso was rejoining the action.
German Rosberg had a different interpretation of the waving flags to Hamilton.
Rosberg said: "What you have to do with double yellow is significantly reduce your speed. I went 20km/h slower into that corner, 20km/h is a different world in a Formula 1 car. You're going proper slow. Everything is safe.
"I lifted off 30 metres before my braking point, I was just rolling there, 20km/h slower until I got to the apex. I had a much tighter line as I went in slow so I could accelerate out again.
"It was a pretty clear case for the stewards and that's why I didn't get any penalty."
READ: F1 race stewards - Rosberg keeps Hungary pole
Rosberg also pointed out that the track was drying significantly at that time in Q3.
The German added: "You're going to get massively quicker every lap. It's not like a track that is consistent."
Importance of flags
Daniel Ricciardo, who finished third behind the two Mercedes men, said their dialogue had raised an important issue, one that drivers have wanted "to discuss further for a long time".
He said: "On a single yellow, people are getting away with a micro-lift and show stewards they slowed down, when they didn't really.
"A double yellow is something significant. The double yellow needs to be very different to a single yellow. I guess that's what we're not too pleased with at the moment."
READ: Hungarian GP - Rosberg snatches pole position in crash-filled qualifying
The mounting furore comes 12 months after the death of Frenchman Jules Bianchi following his crash at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix where he collided with a recovery vehicle.
Many drivers and seasoned paddock observers believe that waved yellow flags in qualifying should be extended to the full circuit to end a driver's qualifying lap.
The sport's ruling body, the International Motoring Federation (FIA), is expected to issue a clarification on the ruling before the next race, the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.