McLaren Mercedes has confirmed to reporters the Formula One team will appeal the penalty that cost Lewis Hamilton victory Sunday in the Belgian Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren Mercedes makes a move to overtake Kimi Raikkonen,...
McLaren Mercedes has confirmed to reporters the Formula One team will appeal the penalty that cost Lewis Hamilton victory Sunday in the Belgian Grand Prix.
Stewards scrutinized the next-to-last lap, after rain began, when Hamilton attempted an outside pass on leader Kimi Raikkonen that resulted in Hamilton cutting the Bus Stop Chicane to go ahead of Raikkonen. The Englishman immediately moved to let the Ferrari driver past then passed the Finn into the next corner, but stewards concluded Hamilton got close enough to Raikkonen's gearbox to gain advantage. They assessed a stop-and-go penalty, the post-race application of which was a 25-second penalty.
"We have no other option than to register our intention to appeal," a team spokesman read from a statement. "We have studied the details and put them before the FIA stewards. They show that after cutting the chicane, Lewis lifted off, he was 6 kph slower than Kimi. After conceding the lead to Kimi, Lewis repositioned his car on the right and beat Kimi on the brakes going into the hairpin."
The penalty dropped Hamilton to third, moving Felipe Massa to first and Nick Heidfeld of BMW Sauber to second. The change in positions cut Hamilton's eight-point drivers' championship points lead over Massa to two points with five races left in the season.
Ferrari indicated the scuderia did not seek steward intervention.
Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali said, "I have often said that the race is not over until the official results are published, and that was the case today. As usual, Ferrari will not comment on the stewards' decision. After the race, we were called to the stewards and explained our position."
The FIA Court of Appeal will determine whether McLaren's complaint has merit.
The decision fuels a long-simmering feud among McLaren and Ferrari fans that was brought to a head by last year's industrial espionage case. McLaren was stripped of the constructors' championship and fined $100 million, an amount later reduced by half.