IT was a disappointing Sunday for Lewis Hamilton in Sochi, who declared after dropping from pole to third in the Russian Grand Prix: “I’m looking forward to getting home”.

But there was a small bright spot late in the day for the reigning world champion when the race stewards decided to retract the two penalty points they had given him for his pre-race practice start infringement.

The Mercedes driver was hit with two separate five-second time penalties during the race, served at the same time, for doing two practice starts in an incorrect area before the Grand Prix had even begun.

Both time penalties came with a one-point penalty point on his Super Licence, taking him just two points shy of the 12 in 12 months that triggers an automatic race ban.

But those penalty points were then lifted hours after the race, when the stewards confirmed Hamilton had been instructed to perform the practice starts in the wrong place by his team.

“The Stewards received information from the team that the driver of car 44 had received a team instruction to perform the practice start in the incorrect place,” read the FIA stewards’ statement.

“This was confirmed by the stewards having listened to the audio between the team and the driver.

“Based on this information the stewards replace document 47 with this decision and therefore remove the penalty points imposed.”

Hamilton had earlier labelled the penalties he received as “ridiculous”, adding “they are trying to stop me.” – Formula1.com