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)

  1. Luigismen said on 1st April 2009, 20:03

    Yes, Glock had the same off track incident.. that the TV cameras did caught, I noted that when watching the race on TV

  2. Ozboy said on 1st April 2009, 20:04

    I vaguely remember in the post-race paddock interview with Lee Mckenzie, when asked about the closing part of the race, LH made a comment about whether Lee had heard what was being said on the radio. I remember being disappointed at the time as she did not drill down on this comment to find out what was said.

  3. Dan M said on 1st April 2009, 20:17

    If Hamilton believes that he legally passed Trulli and then Trulli repassed him, wouldn’t Hamilton be complaining to his team that he was illegally passed?

    It seems odd that Hamilton was so content with letting Trulli stay in third if he believes he legally should have been there. More likely is that Mclaren feared the FIA’s wrath and turned a blind eye when they decided persecute Toyota this weekend.

    The penalties will not stop until a Ferrari is on top.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 1st April 2009, 22:19

      I suspect McLaren were in two minds about whether Hamilton had passed Trulli legally or not. Given their track record with penalties, and the lack of clarity in the rules, I’m not surprised.

  4. Chris said on 1st April 2009, 20:37

    So after one race we have

    3 Teams Protested
    - Protest Fail – Leading to Appeal

    Diffuser Appeal at Court

    William Protest
    - No Result as Williams withdrew to make a point or somthing

    Toyota Sent to Back of Grid

    Mclaren 5 place penalty (for Gearbox change)

    NOW THE RACE

    25sec Penality to Truli
    - Appeal to above that failed – then taken further toyota told to reconisder then droped

    IN THE NEXT RACE

    Like to be another protest against the diffuser gang
    -Leading to appeal bah bah

    Re-opening of 25sec penalty (what ever way you look at it if the stewards had done there job probably first time around this would not be required).

    If i was an FIA steward i would be asking for a pay rise!!!!!

  5. Toby Thwaites 93 said on 1st April 2009, 20:45

    Looks like we are going to face another dispute. Im not bothered though, seems to make things more interesting and after reading comments around the web.
    It looks like Hamilton may of let important bits out when questioned about Trulli after the race.

  6. Christian said on 1st April 2009, 20:57

    (assuming he lied)

    This has got to be the dummest thing Hamilton has ever done… for one freaking point!

    Rooting for him, but this is just stupidity when it’s worst.

  7. F1Yankee said on 1st April 2009, 21:08

    wow

  8. Mike said on 1st April 2009, 21:09

    Hamilton under investigation? why am i not suprised

    • francois said on 1st April 2009, 21:34

      Yes – I think this has become a complete charade.

      I’d hope if Hamilton was ordered to slow down and let Trulli repass they’d reverse the original penalty and fine McLaren for telling their driver to drive very slowly.

      I wouldn’t think Lewis has deliberately misled the stewards by not telling all the story but it strikes me as quite a foolhardy thing to do.

      The worse thing I think deserves to happen would be a fine for Hamilton/McLaren and a reversal of the penalty handed to Trulli.But this is the FIA so I suspect they might black-flag him after the event for good measure.

  9. Oliver said on 1st April 2009, 21:13

    I’m really interested in knowing if these dash displays will be functional while its raining hard.

    Is it the FIA that determines how long a message stays on the screen, or is it the team?

  10. Oliver said on 1st April 2009, 21:17

    With cars weaving about during the safety car period, is there any such thing as a racing line?

  11. Steve K said on 1st April 2009, 21:17

    Shouldnt they just take care of this DURING the race? This is far from rocket science. If someone passes under yellow, tell them to get back in order or black flag them. This 25 second penalty after the race is just silly.

    • Gman said on 2nd April 2009, 1:41

      Indeed- if NASCAR dose it that way, the FIA and all of their high-priced resources should have no problem ;)

  12. Surprised that Hamilton is under investigation not – he was awarded – much to his surprise 3rd place – not very surprised the stewards then find issues too change their ruling(max and bernie – where were you?)
    No surprises here just more taking of the proverbial by the gruesome twosome, playing us like pattsies

  13. Arthur954 said on 1st April 2009, 21:30

    Ferrari has done badly in Australia , so Lou tells Mo :
    ” Mo, dont let the rest of the cars get too far ahead, throw the rules book at anything thats not a Ferrari”

    Bernie tells Mo to let Brawn get away with their diffuser so he can claim an exciting new sponsor joining F1.

    However after a while Mo will get instructions to do something against Brawn if they regularly beat Lou´s cars.

  14. Jake said on 1st April 2009, 21:53

    Can everyone just shut up about Ferrari! It has nothing to do with them, so lets just assume they have nothing to do with it.

    Trulli was unfortunate to lose the initial place to Hamilton. McLaren are obviously unsure about the situation so they tell Lewis to let Trulli past. Hamilton then lets Trulli past.

    After the show they ask Lewis what happens he mentions to Speed TV that his team told him to move over and let Trulli past (he said it so lets assume he is correct). Trulli gets penalised for overtaking Hamilton.

    So two things:
    1. Why did Lewis change his story?
    2. Why didn’t McLaren hold their hands up when Trulli got his penalty and say.. actually it’s our fault we told Lewis to let him past… therefore not deserving a penaly..

    I feel really sorry for Trulli and if Lewis did lie to the stewards then he should be in some serious trouble. Liars never prosper.

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