Lewis Hamilton’s team Mercedes has been fined $24,500 (€25,000) after the seven-time world champion was unable to take out his nose stud at the Singapore Grand Prix.
Drivers have long been prohibited from wearing jewelry for safety reasons and, while the rule is not new, the FIA – the sport’s governing body – has clamped down on it this season, which had initially frustrated Hamilton.
The Brit, who has multiple piercings, was called in by stewards ahead of qualifying on Saturday after wearing the piece of jewelry.
Hamilton explained that he developed an infection after taking out the piercing earlier in the season and that he had a letter from his doctor advising he keep it in.
Mercedes, though, was handed a fine for submitting incorrect paperwork which stated Hamilton was in compliance with the jewelry ban.
“I was not trying to make a statement,” an exasperated Hamilton told reporters ahead of Sunday’s race.
“I’ve had my jewelry 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, at the time for many races, 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 and I was just continuing on with this infection. I got a blood blister and had quite a sore on my nose.
“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 also questioned the credibility of the rule, debating how something so small could be a safety issue.
He says officials had previously explained that the nose stud was dangerous because of the way metal would conduct heat if a fire broke out in the car.
“Our zip is metal, our buckle around, our helmet is metal, we’ve got the wires that have metal in there,” Hamilton added on Saturday. “I don’t know, it’s a little bit silly.”
On the track, Hamilton had a difficult race on Sunday after dropping from third on the grid to ninth having made costly errors. He now sits in sixth place in the drivers’ standings on 170 points, way off the total by championship leader, Max Verstappen, who sits on 341 points.
The Brit will now head to Japan for the next race on October 9, hoping to see improvement in both his car and his performances.