Three-time World Champion Jackie Stewart believes that Lewis Hamilton was wrong to openly criticize the race stewards over the penalties he received in the Monaco Grand Prix.
Amid controversy about Hamilton's outburst after the Monte Carlo event, when he suggested that it was a "joke" he had been punished for his collisions with Felipe Massa and Pastor Maldonado, Stewart has come down on the side of the stewards. He believes that drivers like Hamilton should not put themselves in situations where they are at risk of either damaging their cars or getting hauled up for punishment by the stewards.
"I think both [incidents] were questionable – and he was lucky to get off without any front wing damage in the final incident," Stewart said. "You make your own luck and you create your own situations, but the key is that you should not put yourself in a position where the other driver can retaliate in a fashion that will be negative to you, or will be seen by the stewards as negative.
"You also have to listen to the stewards, because there has been a big improvement in having a driver [on the stewards' panel]. Allan McNish is a very experienced driver, so if that is their opinion you have got to go with it."
Stewart has dismissed suggestions that the race stewards are now leaving drivers in fear of battling wheel to wheel because any collision will result in a penalty. He thinks Hamilton, who spoke to the stewards on Sunday night in Monaco to explain his post-race outburst, should accept that there are times when observers are better placed to judge on incidents.
"When you are a driver, you don't see if from the other side. They get all the angles. They get the videos, and they can sit up there and get all the replays. So they analyze it even better than the man in the cockpit. If there is a degree of unfairness and it is really obvious, then you appeal – and you make suggestions to the governing body of what might be better done to ensure that there is no penalty or loss to the person involved.
"But, you also have still got to keep in mind that you are very exposed. Your own car is likely to be damaged in incidents in a big way, and I actually said I thought there would be a question mark when they [Hamilton's collisions] happened."