SINGAPORE: Seven-times Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton was let off by stewards at the Singapore Grand Prix for driving while wearing his nose stud after the Briton explained taking it out had caused his nose piercing to become infected.
The Mercedes driver was summoned to see the stewards ahead of qualifying at the Marina Bay track on Saturday for an alleged breach of rules banning drivers from wearing jewellery or piercings while racing.
Speaking to reporters after setting the third-fastest time, Hamilton, whose love of jewellery is well known and who was involved in a protracted stand-off with the governing FIA over their strict enforcement of the jewellery rules, said he had not put his nose stud back in to make a stand.
"I've had my jewellery and my nose stud for years," said the 37-year-old.
"We had that whole commotion at the beginning of the year. At the time it was soldered in so it didn't come loose.
"They gave me at the time, for many races... an exemption until I could find a solution. Then I went and got it taken out. It got infected because of that... and I had a blood blister.
"Then I went back and had to have the blood blister fixed because there was pus and blood and stuff and then I put this in and the last two weeks it's started to heal."
Hamilton said he had a letter from his doctors which backed up his explanation.
The sport's deputy medical delegate Ian Roberts had seen the medical report and accepted it, the stewards said in a statement.
"In light of the extenuating circumstances, we have determined to take no further action," they added.
Mercedes, however, were fined 25,000 euros for incorrectly declaring that Hamilton had been in compliance with the jewellery ban in a self-scrutineering form.
The ban on wearing jewellery during a race is for safety reasons and is set out in the FIA's International Sporting Code.
While not new, it has not been rigorously enforced until this season.
Hamilton went into Saturday's qualifying while still under investigation for his nose stud.
The Briton was in contention for his first pole position of the season all session long but ultimately missed out by just 0.054 seconds.
He will start third on Sunday, the first time the record 103-times pole-sitter has qualified in the top three this year.