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FIA rescinds Hamilton's Sochi penalty points

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Saunders: Bottas didn't win on merit (1:51)

Nate Saunders explains why Valtteri Bottas' celebratory radio message left some feeling confused. (1:51)

The FIA has rescinded the two penalty points it issued to Lewis Hamilton at the Russian Grand Prix, moving the world champion away from the brink of a one-race ban.

Hamilton was handed two separate five-second penalties for an incident ahead of the race where he conducted practice starts away from the area designated to do so. Hamilton was leading when he had to serve the two penalties, which ultimately cost him the chance of matching Michael Schumacher's tally of 91 races.

On top of the time penalties, the FIA initially issued Hamilton two points on his superlicence, moving him to an accumulated 10 for the past 12 months. A driver gets an automatic one-race ban when they have 12 at any point in that rolling 12-month period.

However, several hours after the initial verdict was handed down, the stewards reversed part of the decision having gained additional information. Had the two points remained, Hamilton would have been on thin ice for the next four races.

The verdict said: "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. 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 was furious with the time penalty, saying he had never heard of it before and suggesting the decision had been made to simply slow him down.

"I obviously tried," said Bottas, who in the end went on to claim victory after Hamilton was hit with two five-second penalties for practice start infringements.

"I knew the start was going to be the first opportunity. Actually, it was a bit compromised because there was like a massive bee or something that hit my visor as I was braking.

"I couldn't really see when I should brake. So that's why I went too deep.

"But I knew it was going be a long race after that and, with the medium tyre, I had opportunities. But obviously Lewis had penalties, so once I was in clean air I felt the pace was pretty awesome and I could really control everything."