Hamilton Faces Probe Over Fuji Win

Thursday, October 4, 2007 | Labels: | |

Lewis Hamilton is under investigation after his win in the Japanese GP

Officials believed to be probing an incident while field behind safety car

Hamilton has a 12-point lead over McLaren team-mate in title race

Briton Lewis Hamilton's world title chances could be seriously compromised after Formula One officals launched an investigation into allegations that he drove improperly while behind the safety car at Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.

The McLaren rookie strengthened his grip on the world championship with a superb victory at Fuji in appalling conditions which twice saw the safety car deployed.

As the field trailed behind the safety car on the second occasion, Toro Rosso's Sebastien Vettel drove into the back of Red Bull's Mark Webber, causing them both to retire.

The drivers, who were lying in second and third places behind Hamilton a the time of the accident, have both criticized Hamilton for driving erratically and slowing up and down.

Webber said: "It definitely contributed to Sebastian hitting me up the back because he (Hamilton) wasn't doing what he was supposed to be doing, clearly.

"He spoke in the drivers' meeting about how good a job he was going to do and he did the opposite. Still, we know for next time," added the Australian.

An offical of the sports world governing body, the FIA, told Press Association Sport: "We understand the stewards of the meeting have received new evidence and are looking into the relevant matter.

"It would be inappropriate for us to comment any further at this particular stage, in particular as to what penalty, if any, might be imposed."

The new evidence is reported to be a video clip, taken from the grandstand at Fuji Speedway, which has been aired on the Web site YouTube.

It appears to show 22-year-old Hamilton pulling over to the right-hand side of the track and slowing down markedly, in turn forcing Webber to slow down, which caught Vettel on the hop.

Officials would have to rule if the collision was caused by Hamilton's actions.

Germany's Vettel was handed a 10-place grid penalty for his part in the incident.

Hamilton, who leads the title race by 12 points from team-mate Fernando Alonso, could also be relegated 10 places on the grid for Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, or more seriously for his title bid, be docked championship points.

Article 40.10 of the F1 Sporting Regulations reads: "The safety car shall be used at least until the leader is behind it and all remaining cars are lined up behind him. Once behind the safety car, the race leader must keep within five car lengths of it."


  1. Unknown says:

    So the conclusion is that Lewis Hamilton should be handed the 10-place grid penalty for his part in the incident and not Vettel who is a victim. It sound right to me.