FIA race stewards have stripped McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of his fifth victory of the Formula One season after a review of his passing of leader Kimi Raikkonen in the final two laps of the Belgian Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton,...
FIA race stewards have stripped McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of his fifth victory of the Formula One season after a review of his passing of leader Kimi Raikkonen in the final two laps of the Belgian Grand Prix.
Runner-up Felipe Massa inherits victory with third-place finisher Nick Heidfeld of BMW Sauber pulled up to second as Hamilton drops to third.
Hamilton, who said he had given up on winning only moments before, used a rain shower to advance on Raikkonen. The Englishman went down the outside of the Ferrari, went off the road and completed a pass by cutting the Bus Stop Chicane. He immediately let Raikkonen past, nd then went down the inside of La Source and passed the Finn there. Raikkonen briefly regained the lead a half-lap later then crashed out before completing another full lap.
The stewards determined that Hamilton had gained an advantage in cutting the chicane, and levied an equivalent to a drive-through penalty on him, which works out to 25 seconds.
The loss of victory cuts Hamilton's driving championship lead from eight to two points, 76-74, and drops McLaren from six points behind Ferrari in the constructors' chase to 12 points back, 131-119. Before the penalty, Raikkonen had effectively been dropped from drivers' title consideration. He is now 19 points behind Hamilton, a point behind Robert Kubica of BMW Sauber.
Toyota's Timo Glock also received a similar penalty for having passed Mark Webber (Red Bull) under yellow. Glock drops to ninth, promoting Webber to eighth place and the final championship point.
Update: McLaren have registered their intent to appeal the penalty. The team has stated that Hamilton's speed at the start-finish line was 7 km/h slower than Raikkonen's showing that the former did not gain an advantage. FIA has not yet stated whether the appeal can be accepted; drive-through penalties can not normally be appealed.
Editor's note - see also:
Raikkonen's title hopes doused by Hamilton at Spa