Motorsport News - Renault
Scotland's Lewis Williamson denied WSFR3.5 win in Spa
7th June 2012
Scotland's Lewis Williamson was first to cross the finish line in the latest round of the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 at a rain-lashed Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium at the weekend.
But the 22-year-old's joy was short-lived when he was controversially handed a 60-second penalty, dropping him back to a disappointing 16th.
The Golspie-based driver, who started the Formula One feeder series race from fourth on the grid, was leading when the Safety Car was deployed.
Its appearance followed Kiwi Richie Stanaway's car being pitched into the air at Les Combes after it clipped the rear of Carlos Huertas. As Stanaway struggled to extract himself from the car, officials took the decision to stop the race.
Subsequent medical examinations found 20-year-old Stanaway had fractured vertebrae in his back, and he underwent surgery at a Paris hospital.
Of the leading five cars, four — including Williamson — had not completed their mandatory pitstop. In contrast, eventual race winner, Dane Kevin Magnussen in fourth, had.
Following orders from his Red Bull-backed Arden Caterham team, Williamson remained on-track after the race restarted and continued to take the chequered flag.
Within minutes of parking his Red Bull-liveried car in the race winner's position in parc ferme, organisers imposed a controversial 60secs penalty on the Scot for not pitting, relegating him to 16th.
"It's frustrating and disappointing," Williamson, a member of the Red Bull Young Driver Development Programme and who is backed by the Highland Arena consortium, said afterwards.
"My first thoughts though are with Richie. It was a pretty big impact, and I hope he recovers quickly from his injuries. My thoughts, and those at the Arden Caterham team, are with him.
"But as for the race, in those terrible conditions, we had a car good enough to finish on the podium. We were in the perfect position to achieve that, but then the Safety Car and the Red Flag wrecked our race.
"After that, I followed the instructions I received from the team and essentially we just used the remaining laps as an extensive test session. As for the size of the penalty, I have my own views on that and at the moment I'll keep them to myself."
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