Formula One: Hamilton loses Belgian GP appeal
Lewis Hamilton has lost his appeal to have his win at the Belgian GP reinstated after the FIA ruling body confirmed a 25-second sanction against him for cutting a chicane.india Updated: Sep 23, 2008 21:31 IST
Lewis Hamilton on Tuesday lost his appeal to have his win at the Belgian Grand Prix reinstated after the FIA ruling body confirmed a 25-second sanction against him for cutting a chicane.
Hamilton, the current Formula One championship leader, appeared before the Paris tribunal on Monday and gave a spirited defence of his actions after the British McLaren driver was adjudged to have cut a chicane during a duel with Finnish rival Kimi Raikkonen in the closing laps.
Race officials at Spa-Francorchamps overturned his win and demoted him to third in the belief that he had gained unfair advantage.
The five FIA International Court of Appeal judges in Paris upheld the original decision to hand down a drive-through penalty at the end of the race for a breach of Article 30.3 (a) of the 2008 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations and Appendix L, Chapter 4, Article 2 (g) of the International Sporting Code.
The hearing ruled that Article 152 of the International Sporting Code states drive-through penalties are "not susceptible to appeal" and therefore threw out Hamilton's claim.
"Having heard the explanations of the parties the Court has concluded that the appeal is inadmissible," the FIA judges said.
McLaren's lawyers had tried to press a case that as Hamilton did not take to the pit lane the penalty he received was a time addition rather than a drive-through sanction.
The confirmation of Hamilton's third place means rival Felipe Massa of Ferrari claims a win which slashes the Briton's lead in the drivers' championship to a single point.
McLaren and Hamilton said they were disappointed at the result but were now prepared to put the matter behind them and concentrate on the four remaining races.
"People will probably expect me to be depressed about today's result, but that isn't me," Hamilton told his team's website.
"All I want to do now is...get on with what we drivers do best: racing each other.
"We're racers, we're naturally competitive, and we love to overtake. Overtaking is difficult, and it feels great when you manage to pull off a great passing manoeuvre.
"If it pleases the spectators and TV viewers, it's better still. So I'm disappointed, yes, but not depressed."
McLaren's chief operating officer, Martin Whitmarsh, added: "No-one wants to win Grands Prix in court; but we felt that Lewis had won the Belgian Grand Prix, on track, in an exciting and impressive manner.
"Our legal team and witnesses calmly explained this, as well as our belief that the appeal should be admissible, to the FIA International Court of Appeal.
"It nonetheless decided that our appeal was inadmissible. We will now concentrate on the remaining four races of the 2008 Formula 1 season."
In five and a half hours of evidence on Monday Hamilton reiterated his version of events as recorded in a statement given days after the race, saying he had taken the chicane to avoid a collision with Raikkonen.
"I thought I had given back the advantage that I had taken by cutting the chicane. I thought I had done what I needed to," Hamilton insisted.
Whitmarsh and team engineer Phil Prew also appeared before the Paris hearing, but to no avail.
Had he won his appeal Hamilton would have been seven points clear with just four races left to go.
The Briton has 76 points, just one point ahead of Massa, with Poland's Robert Kubica, of BMW Sauber, on third with 58.
The next race is a night extravaganza in Singapore this Sunday.