Monday, September 22, 2008

Hamilton ready for Belgian GP appeal

PARIS: Lewis Hamilton will bid to extend his world championship lead here on Monday with the action coming amongst the suits of an FIA appeal tribunal rather than on the racing track.

The British driver was controversially penalized 25 seconds after winning the Belgian Grand Prix two weeks ago, a decision which relegated the McLaren star to third place.

Hamilton was adjudged to have cut a chicane during a duel with Finnish rival Kimi Raikkonen in the closing laps.

That verdict handed victory to Felipe Massa of Ferrari, who came home second after Raikkonen had crashed with one lap remaining, and slashed the Briton's lead in the championship which now stands at just one point.

Days later McLaren said it intended to appeal, with team chief executive Martin Whitmarsh protesting Hamilton's innocence.

"From the pit wall, we then asked Race Control to confirm that they were comfortable that Lewis had allowed Kimi to repass," he said.

"They confirmed twice that they believed that the position had been given back in a manner that was 'okay'."

The appeal's outcome will have ramifications for the championship after last weekend's rain-hit Italian Grand Prix, were Massa clawed back vital points by finishing sixth, one place up from Hamilton.

The Briton now sits on 76 points, just one point ahead of Massa, with Poland's Robert Kubica, of BMW Sauber, on third with 58.

McLaren's arguments may fall on deaf ears as Article 152 of the FIA's international sporting code states that a drive-through penalty is "not susceptible to appeal."

Source: China Daily/Agencies

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