LEWIS HAMILTON produced his best qualifying performance of the season – and then landed in hot-water with the FIA after defying their bling ban.
Hamilton qualified in third place for Sunday’s Singapore GP behind Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez while Max Verstappen will start in eighth place due to a fuel problem.
Lewis Hamilton produced his best qualifying result of the season
Sparks fly from Hamilton’s Mercedes in the floodlit session
In another day of drama, Hamilton was hauled in front of the picky race stewards to justify his reason for wearing a nose piercing, which is a breach of the FIA International Sporting Code.
New FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has promised to get tough on drivers wearing jewellery in a row that threatened to overshadow the Miami, Monaco and British GPs earlier this year.
Hamilton continued to wear his nose stud and was granted a temporary exemption before he eventually backed down and removed it in Silverstone and for the subsequent races.
Yet in Singapore, he was seen wearing the stud in the cockpit – triggering a summons from the stewards.
Hamilton, who was later let off, said: “I’m not trying to make a statement, no.
“Basically I’ve had my jewellery and my nose stud for years and obviously we had that whole commotion at the beginning of the year.
“At the time it was like soldered in, so it didn’t come loose. They gave me an exemption so I could find a solution.
“Then I went to get it taken out and tried to find a solution, putting it in and out. It got infected because of that.
“I got a blood blister and had quite a sore on my nose because there was puss and blood. I put this back in and in the last two weeks it’s started to heal and they’ve asked that I keep it in.
“It’s crazy that we’re having to talk about something so small. I take everything else out. At this point, I don’t really care to be honest.”
Hamilton was asked about the reasoning for the FIA’s focus on such a trivial matter and added: “I really don’t know, man.
“I’ve got a letter from a doctor… I’ve tried my best. One of the best excuses I was given a long time ago was about heat and if you are in a fire metal conducts heat.
“But our suits are covered, our zip is metal, our buckle around our helmet is metal, we’ve got the wires with aluminium metal in them.
‘A BIT SILLY’
“So I don’t know, it’s all a bit silly. Hopefully they’ll be sensible. The stewards should be there to keep us safe most importantly but this is not a safety issue.”
While FIA medics supported Hamilton’s reasoning and took no further action, his Mercedes team however, were fined €25,000 (£22,400) for not telling the FIA he was wearing his piercing.
Meanwhile, Verstappen – who can win the title on Sunday if he outscores Leclerc by 22 points AND Perez finishes outside the top three – lashed his Red Bull team.
The Dutchman was furious after he was forced to abort his final flying lap due to running out of fuel.
He said: “On the final lap they told me to box and then I realised what was going to happen. We ran out of fuel.
“It is incredibly frustrating and it shouldn’t happen. I am not happy at all at the moment.
“Of course it is always a team effort and I can make mistakes, and the team can make mistakes, but it is never acceptable.”
Hamilton has been reprimanded by picky FIA chiefs for his nose stud