Spa penalty ‘wrong’ says Hamilton

Mon, 8 September 2008, 12:29

Lewis Hamilton on Sunday said stewards are “absolutely wrong” to strip him of his Belgian grand prix victory at Spa-Francorchamps.

Before the 25-second penalty was added to his finishing time for an illegal overtaking move on Kimi Raikkonen, the McLaren driver answered “absolutely not” when asked if he felt he did anything wrong with 2 laps to go.

“I left him enough room, yet he picked up more pace going into the corner, and drove me as wide as he possibly could,” said Hamilton, referring to the moment before he cut the Bus Stop chicane.

The championship leader, whose penalty cost him 6 points in the title fight with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, said he had to cut the chicane or hit Raikkonen.

He said he then obeyed a radio command to let the Finn re-pass him. It is believed the stewards penalised the 23-year-old because he used the momentum of exiting the chicane escape-road to slipstream the Ferrari and overtake him at La Source.

Hamilton explained: “I was accelerating so that I didn’t lose too much ground because I thought that would be unfair.

“I didn’t want to wait until he’d flown past because we were still racing. Eventually I could see him accelerating and I knew, ok, this is alright, so I began to accelerate, but slowly. I don’t believe I was full throttle, I was waiting for him to accelerate past which he did.

“That was a great fight and I don’t think there was anything wrong there.”

He told reporters he would be “absolutely” surprised if stewards issued a penalty. McLaren subsequently declared their intention to appeal.

“What more could I do? I don’t know what more I could have done.

“This is motor racing and if there’s a penalty, then there’s something wrong. But you know what they’re like, so we will see,” Hamilton said.

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