Lewis Hamilton escaped a fine for wearing his nose stud in qualifying for Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix – but Mercedes were charged 25,000 euros (£22,000) for wrongly declaring the British driver would adhere to Formula One’s jewellery ban.
F1’s governing body, the FIA, has enforced a clampdown on piercings this season, and following a number of medical exemptions, Hamilton, 37, removed his nose stud for the 10th round at Silverstone in July.
But Hamilton was seen wearing it in practice and qualifying here and was summoned to see the stewards.
Hamilton provided a doctor’s note, and explained he had been advised to wear the nose stud to stop an infection which came about when he removed it.
In the moments after he qualified third for Sunday’s round at the Marina Bay Circuit, the British driver said: “I am not trying to make a statement. I have had my jewellery and my nose stud for years.
“We had that huge commotion at the beginning of the year. At the time, it was soldered in, so it didn’t come loose.
“For many races, the FIA gave me an exemption until I could find a solution. I got it taken out and it got infected because of that.
“I was continuing with this infection and I had a blood blister. I went back to have the blood blister fixed, because there was pus and blood.
“I put this stud in, and then in the last two weeks it has started to heal and they asked that I keep it in.
“I have got a letter from the doctor. I have tried my best. Hopefully they will be sensible. The stewards should be there to keep us safe and this is not a safety issue.
“It is crazy that we have to talk about something so small. At this point, I don’t really care to be honest.”
Following an investigation, the FIA said: “In response to a request by the stewards, the team produced reports from a medical practitioner which confirmed Hamilton’s explanation. In light of the extenuating circumstances, we have determined to take no further action.”
Mercedes were also called to see the stewards after team manager Ron Meadows submitted a self-scrutineering form saying Hamilton would comply with F1’s jewellery ban.
An FIA statement read: “The team manager explained that the team was unaware that Hamilton had a piercing. In recent events Hamilton had removed the piercing prior to the competition.
“The team assumed, without enquiring of Hamilton, that he had followed or would follow the same procedure for this event.
“The stewards accept that the error in the declaration in this case was not intentional or deliberate but it would not have occurred had the team made an enquiry of Hamilton before completing and submitting the declaration. Given these circumstances, we fine the team 25,000 euros.”