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Little sympathy for Hamilton's Sochi penalties

The international media reacted with little sympathy after Lewis Hamilton suggested Formula 1 is trying to stop him dominating the sport.

The international media reacted with little sympathy after Lewis Hamilton suggested Formula 1 is trying to stop him dominating the sport.

The six-time world champion received two five-second penalties for illegal practice starts before the recent Sochi race, and afterwards suggested he had been unfairly singled out.

"How is it that such a strong driver, a phenomenon like Lewis Hamilton, doesn't know the rules?" an editorial in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica reacted.

Indeed, F1 race director Michael Masi insists that all 19 of Hamilton's rivals made their pre-race practice starts in the designated area.

"So just one piece of advice," La Repubblica added. "In addition to weights in the gym, sometimes pick up a book, and start with the Formula 1 rules."

Spain's El Pais agrees that Hamilton's "rookie mistakes" were "inappropriate for a driver of his calibre".

Hamilton's 2 super licence penalty points, which took him perilously close to a race ban, were rescinded by the FIA after it emerged that Mercedes agreed that he could do a practice start outside of the official area.

Mercedes' engineering director Andrew Shovlin told Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper: "We didn't quite realise how much further down he wanted to go.

"We didn't see his first one, but when we saw the second, we knew they (the stewards) wouldn't like it."

Former F1 driver Karl Wendlinger told AvD Motorsport Magazin: "Hamilton should know where he can practice his starts. He's been in Formula 1 long enough for that."

Another ex driver, Marc Surer, added: "If 19 drivers practice in the right place and Lewis Hamilton goes to the end of the pit exit where the cars come out at high speed, one the one hand it's dangerous and on the other I cannot understand where he even got the idea to go there."

Sergey Sirotkin, who drove for Williams in 2018, told Russia's Championat: "I don't think it was too harsh a punishment.

"The pitlane exit is rather narrow with walls on both sides, and where he did it is a long way from the place where he should have done it.

"I am quite sure that the stewards didn't invent that penalty, I think they have clearly prescribed penalties for certain violations. I think it was quite justified," the Russian added.

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Lewis Hamilton on the podium at the Russian Grand Prix on September 27, 2020
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Michael Masi rubbishes Lewis Hamilton accusation of being singled out

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States16171144
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia10141034
Great BritainGreat Britain79925
Today's Olympic highlights header

Saturday's key events

· After silvers in both the men's and women's events, Team GB will be fancied to get on the podium again in the mixed relay (11.30pm-1am)

· Touted as Michael Phelps's successor, Caeleb Dressel already has two gold medals from these Games and he will be going for a third in the men's 50m butterfly final (2.30am)
· It is Katie Ledecky vs. Ariarne Titmus III in the women's 800m freestyle final, with Ledecky entering as firm favourite (2.46am)
· Great Britain will be heavily fancied to add another gold medal to their swimming haul, having produced by far the fastest qualifying time for the mixed 4x100m medley relay final (3.43am)

· Dina Asher-Smith is one of three British women in the 100m semi-finals (3.01am-3.20am), and will hope to challenge for a medal in what is likely to be a star-studded final (1.50pm)
· The inaugural Olympic 4x400m mixed relay event concludes with Great Britain one of the eight finalists going for gold (1.35pm)

· Team GB's dreams of an unlikely gold are still alive in the women's event as they face France in their semi-final (3.30am). The winners will face either New Zealand or Fiji in the gold medal match later in the day (10am)

· Gold medals are up for grabs in the windsurfer - RS:X finals. Emma Wilson participates for Team GB in the women's final (6.33am), while Tom Squires is in action in the men's (7.33am)

· Following his shock semi-final defeat, ending his hopes of a Golden Slam in 2021, Novak Djokovic battles for bronze against Pablo Carreno Busta (7am)
· The women's singles event reaches its conclusion with the gold medal match between Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova

> Today's schedule in full
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