Formula 1 race director Charlie Whiting has described Romain Grosjean's failure to get out of the way of race leader Lewis Hamilton during the Singapore Grand Prix was one of the worst cases he's seen in F1.
Grosjean was being lapped by the Briton but was embroiled in a close battle with Williams' Sergey Sirotkin. Grosjean received multiple notifications to let Hamilton past but was intent on getting ahead of Sirotkin before doing so.
Hamilton lost his gap to Max Verstappen behind due to the traffic, and Grosjean was later penalised for the incident. The Frenchman received a 5-second time penalty and is now just three points away from a race ban, after having two penalty points added to his licence.
"Romain just completely forgot the golden rule of blue flags and that’s if you’re in a battle you’ve got to forget your own battle and move over,” said Whiting. “I’ve drilled that into them many times.
“I think he completely forgot about it. He was so intent on his battle with Sirotkin that he just didn’t… the light panels were flashing with his race number on them, Lewis was much faster, it was probably one of the worst cases of ignoring blue flags that I’ve seen for a long time.”
Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas was heard complaining over the radio about Nico Hulkenberg in front. Bottas was attempting to stay ahead of his compatriot Kimi Raikkonen and was disgruntled that Hulkenberg wasn't moving over. However, Whiting explained that the Renault driver was entitled to hold his ground.
“Valtteri didn’t get close enough to deserve a blue flag so there was no issue there with Nico not respecting the blue flag,” he said. "Blue flags are only shown to drivers when they are less than 1.2 seconds ahead of a car which is trying to lap them."