Hamilton’s third place under threat again (Update: FIA opening new investigation)

Lewis Hamilton's version of events in Melbourne are in dispute

Lewis Hamilton's version of events in Melbourne are in dispute

Lewis Hamilton may have thought that Toyota’s press release announcing it would not appeal Jarno Trulli’s 25 second penalty was the end of the matter.

But according to a report in Auto Motor und Sport (translation here) Hamilton could still lose the third place he inherited from Trulli at Australia – and potentially a lot more.

Hamilton passed Trulli for third place during the safety car period after Robert Kubica and Sebastian Vettel’s crash. Amateur video evidence later showed Hamilton had done this legally, as Trulli had gone off the track at the time:

However there is not yet any footage of the moment Trulli passed Hamilton, which is at the heart of the stewards’ concerns.

The AMuS story claims Hamilton told a journalist after the race that he was instructed by McLaren to let Trulli past. But Hamilton either did not tell the stewards this, or told them it didn’t happen.

The stewards are now investigating what radio communication there was between Hamilton and the pits at the time, and whether Hamilton’s claim he had slowed down because he was examining his car’s display is true or not.

Toyota accepted they are not able to protest the decision for the same reason that McLaren were not allowed to protest Hamilton’s penalty at Spa last year. However the stewards may choose to investigate of their own volition. And if Hamilton is found to have lied or misled them, the punishment could be severe.

Or, failing that, this is just a strange German April Fools’ joke. What do you think?

Update @ 20:57, 4/1/09 – No April Fools’ joke – the FIA are officially investigating

According to Autosport the stewards are examining a new record of the McLaren radio transmission. The decision will be announced tomorrow, but it’s safe to assume they wouldn’t be calling for a fresh investigation if they hadn’t found something significant.

Update 2 – Thanks to Rob B for posting this recording of Toyota’s radio traffic from the final laps. If only we had McLaren’s too we could do the hearing ourselves!

Read more: Trulli penalised, Hamilton takes third (Update: Video of Hamilton?s pass)

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133 comments on Hamilton’s third place under threat again (Update: FIA opening new investigation)

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  1. Luke said on 1st April 2009, 19:00

    I remember hearing this fron Trulli after the race so no April fools joke I’m afraid…

    • Heard what from Trulli, exactly? That he was privy to the info displayed on HAM’s steering wheel, what was said over the radio or just that Trulli said HAM offered two explanations (one to the FIA stewards and one to the media?) All I have seen from Trulli is his account of the situation where he felt the pass was legal as HAM slowed considerably and pulled off the racing line.

  2. I just want to see the next race. Kinda sick of all the post race politicking that is going on. I really hope this is an attempt at an April Fool’s joke though. I can’t imaging Hamilton being so stupid as to tell the FIA one thing and then a few minutes later, the media something else.

    • tEQUILLA sLAMMER said on 1st April 2009, 19:23

      why not? he was stupid enough to drive into the back of a stationary car in Canada last year!!!! Win at ANY cost!!!…..even your integrity if it means the 1 point that wins you the title at the end of the day!! lets hope there is some discrepancy with the radio timing and maybe he gets off with it, seeing as Toyboys decided to drop their appeal!!!! #:)

    • Whewbacca the Cookie said on 2nd April 2009, 6:55

      GPUpdate site corroborates the story. Hamilton might have had two different accounts of the incident within a few minutes. But I don’t think he has lied. Looks more like a “selective-truth” situation to me :)

  3. epi said on 1st April 2009, 19:02

    “I can’t say how disappointed I am to finish third but have the result questioned. When the safety car came out towards the end of the race Lewis Hamilton passed me but soon after he suddenly slowed down and pulled over to the side of the road. I thought he had a problem so I overtook him as there was nothing else I could do. I would still like to say thank you to the team who have made a huge effort. The fact we were able to fight for the podium despite starting from the pit lane is down to them.”

    quote there from Truli

    If Hamilton did let him past like that, by pulling over to one side, surely the place was as fair to take as Truli also being off the track earlier? You shouldn’t be able to trick a person into taking a place only for them to be handed a 25 sec penalty later?

    • Agreed. I don’t think McLaren were trying to trick anyone, I think they were being cautious to avoid the same penalty being applied as Spa last year and what Trulli inadvertently received after the race.

  4. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 1st April 2009, 19:05

    A bit more on the story from James Allen’s blog:

    It is written by Michael Schmidt, who is one of the most respected journalists in F1.


    “Trulli drove past Hamilton between the turns 4 and 5. The Toyota driver said that Hamilton so strongly deviated from the racing line that he thought Hamilton had a problem. Under these circumstances passing him would be permitted. Hamilton denied the allegation of intentionally slow driving. He changed line, because he was busy reading off the Safety Car instructions on the dashboard display.”

    But after examining this, the stewards have apparently discovered that at that point in time and on the circuit, the dash display would have been cleared and there was nothing more on the display, which could have diverted Hamilton.

    • todd said on 2nd April 2009, 3:30

      hamilton said in an interview on speed tv that his team told him to let truli back through since he passed truli under the safety car (when truli went off by accident).

      it came from hamiltons mouth in the speed tv interview.

  5. it’s a shame for f1 …
    pinnacle of motorsport …
    telemetry, radio, cameras, onboard … and we have 19 century methods to verify what really happened … annoying …

    • Gman said on 2nd April 2009, 1:36

      Indeed. With all the coverage we see from the “International TV feed,” you would think that some camera, at some point on the track, would have caught the move when it happened.

  6. Oh, FFS. Leave the results alone !
    Let peoples driving speak for itself !

    • todd said on 2nd April 2009, 3:36

      yeah, leave the results alone, give it back to trulli, he beat hamilton fair and square before the whole saftey car incident.

    • zplol said on 2nd April 2009, 4:36

      In my book, position changes while under yellow isn’t racing…

  7. Phil said on 1st April 2009, 19:23

    I agree with Mail123456.

    each of these cars have onboard cameras and telemetry. This should not be a difficult situation to diagnose. If Lewis lied shame on him. we shouldn’t have to rely on amateur video.

    • It’s not about amateur video … it’s about stewards … how can they throw penalty without check all data from telemetry, onboard, radio & etc … are they amateurs? or they just don’t want to learn anything …

  8. Spud said on 1st April 2009, 19:23


    Check out that link:

    I almost fell for it…….. almost i said.

    You never know though give it a couple of years……..

    Then again I got April Fool’ed several times today in work. I’m quare gullible :D :D :D :D

  9. BaKano said on 1st April 2009, 19:30

    I don’t think this is an April Fools’ joke because yesterday I read a friedn’s analysis of the race on a forum, and he already mentioned that Hamilton slowed down to allow Trulli pass due to McLaren’s orders, since McLaren was afraid of being penalysed for the overtake, as they had been before (wrongly pnealysed of course).

    He also mentioned the surprise from McLaren to being handed the 3rd place, and I believe they did not protest Trulli’s pass, which can also be indications that they did order Lewis to slow down.

    And I believe my friend’s had already seen the mentioned interview because he wrote that Hamilton had stated it was not Trulli’s fault to re-pass him when he slowed down…

    So what will happen? I don’t know, but in my opinion any way is fine with me. It is true taht Trulli went off-road hence it was correct for Lewis to pass him. But nevertheless if indeed McLaren told Lewis to slow down, then Trulli should not be penalised for repassing.

    Who merits the 3rd place the most? I guess probably Trulli because when Hamilton passed him they were already under the SC, but it was his fault that he lost car, so who knows? maybe if the SC didn’t come, Hamilton would have managed to pass him eitherway…

  10. kurtosis said on 1st April 2009, 19:32

    It should be easy enough for the Stewards to make a decision. They can look at:
    1. Radio communication records
    2. Car telemetry records
    3. Race control broadcast timings
    4. Dig out footage from somewhere (helicopter).

    Off-track excursions during safety car periods may be pretty frequent this season if the teams continue to have difficulties getting and maintaining heat in the tires.

    • tEQUILLA sLAMMER said on 1st April 2009, 20:08

      they can even dig out my dads 8mm footage of me and my mates when we was little!!!! just before we all became career criminals!!1 but i doubt the fia(sco) will look at any footage if it dont have spanking, suspenders and discipline all in the same movie; so you can forget them really having a clue as to what to do next!!! #:)

  11. I’m sorry but I can’t follow the logic that says Hamilton is driving along in 3rd and lets Trulli past into 3rd, so that Trulli would be penalised, leaving Hamilton in 3rd. What???

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 1st April 2009, 19:40

      It seems to me the only reason McLaren would have instructed Hamilton to let Trulli past would be because they thought Hamilton might have passed Trulli illegally. Perhaps they were trying to err on the side of caution.

  12. Loki said on 1st April 2009, 19:42

    The Germans are quite good at the April Fools….at least, BMW’s are quite funny.

    It’s probably an April Fools – it’s almost too contrived to be real.

    • tEQUILLA sLAMMER said on 1st April 2009, 20:19

      loki…..do you play on Wolfenbstein-Enemy Territory!? There is someone on there with the same name! #:) what you mean you dont get it? read it man!!! its on News Now F1…………#:)

    • tEQUILLA sLAMMER said on 1st April 2009, 20:27

      sorryt loki…i meant that nunuts el jayby!!! read it man!!!!…news now f1!!! #:)

    • Loki said on 1st April 2009, 20:29

      lol, my ‘name’ is rather ubiquitous for a username. Except that’s what I’m actually known as!

    • and are you perhaps the same Loki from Celica.net way back in the day?

  13. Kris said on 1st April 2009, 19:47

    Was it me or did Glock have a very similar incident in that video?

  14. Lee said on 1st April 2009, 19:50

    I’m not sure why they gave Trulli such a bad penalty anyway. If Hamilton drove off the racing line and slowed, who wouldn’t think he had a problem? Trulli was obviously mislead.

    • Phil said on 1st April 2009, 23:03

      only penalties they can apply are drive through (converted to 25s penalty if within last 5 laps) or grid penalty for the next race. Seeing as the alleged infraction was to do with overtaking/places the drive through is the correct (if a little heavy handed) one.

  15. hitchcockm00 said on 1st April 2009, 19:59

    Whatever the details, if Hamilton lied to the stewards then that was a really bad idea.

    If it turned out Hamilton pulled over because he was instructed to, does that mean the stewards should give Trulli back his 3rd place?

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