Hamilton in the dock
Formula one officials are investigating Lewis Hamilton’s victory in last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, amid allegations that he engaged in improper driving, a FIA spokeswoman said on Thursday.
Officials are reviewing video evidence suggesting that Hamilton’s driving behind the safety car at the rain-lashed Fuji Speedway led to a crash that ended the race for Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.
“New evidence has been brought to the stewards’ attention and they are currently looking into the matter,” said the spokeswoman for the International Motoring Federation (FIA), the sport’s governing body.
Hamilton was expected to meet with Formula One stewards on Friday.
The British rookie, who drives for McLaren-Mercedes, leads the race for the World Championship by 12 points, with two races left.
But if found guilty of improper driving, his points from Japan could be erased.
The incident was missed by official TV coverage but Webber and Vettel have since been critical of Hamilton.
Webber, who drives for Red Bull, almost overtook Hamilton but the British driver slowed and moved to the right of the track. The Australian was then knocked out of the race by Toro Rosso’s Vettel.
“I think Hamilton did a shit job behind the safety car,” Webber told reporters in Shanghai ahead of this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.
“He spoke in the drivers’ briefing about what a good job he was going to do and then he did the opposite.
“He was not doing what he should have been doing, the rhythm was not there,” Webber said.
“I was challenging for a win but it was taken away and not in a racing incident but behind the safety car. It's hard to swallow but you can’t get it back.
“I have to concentrate on the next race, that's all we can control.”
Vettel added “In the end it was my fault. I am not here to blame anybody but I think it is clear the rhythm was not there.”
“We are all sitting in the same boat. At that point (of the crash) I was distracted, looking to the right.
I was sure he (Hamilton) was retiring, he seemed to have no power any longer, but by the time I looked back I was already in Mark's rear end."