Niki Lauda slams Hamilton penalty

Mon, 8 September 2008, 02:36

Former Ferrari driver and triple world champion Niki Lauda hit out at the stewards’ decision on Sunday to strip Lewis Hamilton of his Belgian grand prix victory.

The forceful reaction of the British press was expected, with the Daily Mail correspondent Jonathan McEvoy labelling the 23-year-old McLaren driver the “victim of a conspiracy against McLaren”, with the FIA heading a “polluted sport”.

But Lauda, the great Austrian driver, spoke on behalf of much of the wider international paddock population.

“This is the worst judgment in the history of F1,” he slammed. “The most perverted judgment I have ever seen.

“It’s absolutely unacceptable when three functionaries (the stewards) influence the championship like this,” Lauda added.

There may, however, be little recourse for McLaren, despite the British team’s notification of its intention to appeal the decision in the International Court of Appeal.

Hamilton’s 25-second adjunct was technically a drive-through penalty, which could not be served because the incident occurred so close to the end of the race.

Drive-throughs cannot be appealed.

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