Two sides to the Hamilton-Trulli controversy: Hamilton apologises

2009 Australian Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton has admitted not telling the truth to the stewards
Lewis Hamilton has admitted not telling the truth to the stewards

Lewis Hamilton has apologised for his role in the Australian Grand Prix controversy after being vilified in the British and international press this morning.

What will be the consequences for Hamilton’s reputation and the team’s? Will it have any repercussions for Hamilton’s career? And how has it affected the fans’ view of him?

McLaren admits guilt

McLaren’s decision not to appeal Hamilton’s exclusion from the Australian Grand Prix was the first sign that McLaren were backing down over the matter.

That was followed this morning by the suspension of sporting director Dave Ryan and Martin Whitmarsh stating quite frankly that the team had lied to the stewards including Hamilton, under instruction from Ryan:

It has become clear from discussions with Dave last night and through into this morning that during the stewards meeting after the Australian Grand Prix, he was not entirely full and truthful in the answers he gave the stewards.

Asked if Hamilton had told the truth Whitmarsh added:

No. I think that Lewis was not entirely truthful, but we have spoken to Davey. He was the senior member of the team and they went into the situation together.

Hamilton later gave a press conference in which he issued a startlingly direct mea culpa while, according to James Allen “his voice [was] cracking at times, his body language full of anguish and regret”:

For me, the situation is definitely the worst thing I’ve experienced in my life. That is why I am here. It is right for me as a human being and as a man to stand in front of you all and tell you exactly what went on and put up my hands. I cannot tell you how sorry I am. I’m sorry to my team and my family for the embarrassment. It is a very, very embarrassing situation.

He has, at least, avoided the mistake of not saying sorry.

‘Say it ain’t so, Joe’

Had the apology come 24 hours earlier Hamilton might have been spared the full heat of the British press’s reaction:

In a damning judgment of the conduct of Hamilton and his team, who were fined $100 million (now about ??68 million) by the FIA for cheating in 2007 over the ??spy-gate?? affair, the Melbourne stewards, who reconvened here in Kuala Lumpur, made it clear that they believe Hamilton and McLaren had not told the truth.
Ed Gorman, The Times

Lewis Hamilton was last night branded a liar in the Aussie GP storm.
Michael Spearman, The Sun

Lewis Hamilton’s reputation for sporting fairness is in tatters this morning after he was sensationally found guilty of lying and cheating his way to third place in last Sunday?s Australian Grand Prix.
Jonathan McEvoy, Daily Mail

It’s no surprise that the revelation of Hamilton being caught red-handed is the lead story. But what do his fans make of it? I’ll leave it up to you to tell me that in the comments.

Hamilton and McLaren

There are other aspects to this story beyond the simple fact of Hamilton and McLaren getting caught not telling the truth.

To begin with, the radio transcripts published by the FIA show it was McLaren, not Hamilton, who decided (incorrectly) to let Trulli past. Had Hamilton not bothered to consult the team, and stayed ahead of Trulli, the problem could have been avoided.

Hamilton may well consider his interests would have been better served by not bringing it up with the team, and take similar decisions without consulting them in future.

Hamilton has already hinted once this year that he may not stay with McLaren for the rest of his career, which he first indicated he would do after his world championship success last year. Despite the swift removal of the individual McLaren claims bore principal responsibility the episode may have fatally weakened the bonds between team and driver.

McLaren will hope their submissions today will mean the end of the matter for the time being. But it shouldn’t be forgotten that over at Renault is a driver who might one day tell us some more interesting stories about McLaren’s radio communications.

Read the second part of this post: Two sides to the Hamilton-Trulli controversy: Another avoidable crisis

More of the press reaction

141 comments on “Two sides to the Hamilton-Trulli controversy: Hamilton apologises”

  1. What a shame for Brit…

  2. schumi the greatest
    3rd April 2009, 12:49

    As a hamilton fan i dont blame hamilton entirley for it…it could have been avoided for sure but also hamilton is a team player.

    regarding the possible weakend bond between himself and mclaren..i think its a possibility. I remember reading that the reason schumacher left benetton at the end of 95 was because after 94 with all the allegations of using traction control, fiddling with the fuel pumps etc he didnt want his repuatation being ruined by the team.

    lewis may feel the same…but i think lewis made those noises that he would listen to offers from other teams as a warning to mclaren that he wont hang around for years in uncompetitive cars and also a way to say to other teams come and get me if the mclaren continues to struggle for the rest of this season

    1. I feel pitty for you…….you are trying to defend lewis even when he is caught redhanded…..

  3. Hopefully this will silence the naysayers that vehemently protested Hamilton’s innocence and the FIA stupidity/racism/Ferrari bias.

    I kind of feel a bit sorry for the guy, but at the end of the day, he’s his own man, and he decided to lie, not Ryan. Regardless of what he was told to do, it was him that eventually lied, no one else.

  4. It will defiantly damage Hamilton’s reputation, but in the long run if he keeps his head down and out of trouble and produces some good drives he could recover. Hamilton has always had his detractors so it is not as if he was universally loved.

    Look at Michael Schumacher, who Hamilton has been compared a few times, there are quite a few things in his career which were as bad as this and some worse. In the end although everyone recognised his skill and he was probably the most popular driver his legacy was tarnished, which was what I think will happen with Hamilton.

  5. I don’t think Schumi was ever public outed as a cheat or liar. People always had their suspicions over a few incident, but he was never proven as to have lied in order to boost his finishing position.

    1. wow. You dont think Schumi was ever outed as a cheat and a liar? Really?

      Whats your definition of “outed”? In parking his car in Monico he cheated and then lied about it. He didnt lie in order to change his finishing positon, but he sure as heck lied to cover up his attempt to change qualifiying results.

    2. Proof? Or just though based on circumstance?

      The two aren’t mutually exclusive.

    3. Kester, let’s see how the facts differ from what you think –

      Wikipedia:

      (After his collision with Villeneuve in the final Grand Prix of 1997)

      “Schumacher was … summoned to a disciplinary hearing by the FIA and on November 11, 1997 it was announced that Schumacher would be disqualified from the 1997 World Championship.

      Bild (German Newspaper):

      “Schumacher was to blame for the crash…There is no doubt that he wanted to take out Villeneuve.”

      The Times:

      Schumacher “sacrificed his reputation by an act of such cynicism that it lost him the right to any sympathy.”

      Next time you want to make a comment, perhaps you could do some research, instead of just making things up.

    4. Not once was he actually proved to have lied. Not believing what a driver says is completely different to proving that they lied.

      So perhaps next time you want to jump down someone’s throat you should read what they are saying.

    5. The Rascasse incident was proven by looking at the telemetry.

      Or do you mean Schumacher wasn’t outed because he never admitted to using the traction control on his Benneton, or to ramming Hill on purpose in Melbourne, ramming Villeneuve or for stopping his car at Rascasse?

      He was proven guilty on at least two of those and punished for them.

    6. I DID read what you said: “I don’t think Schumi was ever public outed as a cheat or liar.” I took this to mean that he had never been proved to be a cheat or liar.

      Just to clarify: are you claiming that when Michael Schumacher was disqualified from the 1997 F1 Championship, that this does not qualify as proof he was cheating?

  6. I think Hamilton will have a good race this weekend. When he is under pressure he shines.

    It’s a shame it went this far, but he is young and evidently followed Ryan’s advice.

    He’ll be okay, and I still think he will stay at McLaren for the forseeable future.

  7. I think that we ask too much of Hamilton.

    All the people criticising him and scaling the moral high ground should ask: how would I have behaved in the circumstances when I was 24?

    If you can sincerely answer that you would have done differently, then feel free to hurl abuse or feel smug.

    The key thing it to keep our eyes focused on the real problems: the stewarding system is f****d and the FIA desperate to break up the FOTA accord.

    We should not allow ourselves to be distracted from this. Pop over to the blog to read our conclusions in full.

    1. So you’re accusing everyone of lying? I think you’ll find people who are honest with their work and people. And yes, many of us don’t believe in lying.

      McLaren is giving a relative unknown a slap on the wrist so that Hamilton and the rest of the team aren’t blamed for a stupid mistake. The key thing would be to stop bitching about the FIA when they’re doing the right thing for once. If the places between Trully and Hamilton were exchanged, I’m pretty sure all the Hamilton fans would be calling Trulli a liar and much worse. Here, Hamilton has been spared most of the brickbats.

    2. Sorry, LJH, the age thing isn’t an excuse… most of the current F1 drivers are under 30, and have to deal with much more complex things…

      I won’t condemn Hamilton, call him a cheater, because I agree with those who say Schumacher was much more unloyal (against Hill in Adelaide 1994, against Villeneuve in Jerez 1997, against Alonso in Monaco 2006, just to name a few…), many many times, and still is hailed as the greatest of all…

      What surprises me was their foolish thought that they could mislead the stewards when their radio talk was taped…

    3. We should not allow ourselves to be distracted from this.

      I don’t think I have – did you read the other part?

      Two sides to the Hamilton-Trulli controversy: Another avoidable crisis

      All the people criticising him and scaling the moral high ground should ask: how would I have behaved in the circumstances when I was 24?

      I think that’s a good point, but it is true that there are people on the grid who are younger. When teams pick drivers they have to take their maturity into consideration. Given his success over the past years you wouldn’t call Hamilton a poor choice of driver for McLaren, but on this occasion he’s let himself down.

  8. Maybe he should apologise to Trulli. What a shame, his off-track activities and clumsy mouth spoil what is probably a once-in-a-generation talent.

    1. Why yes, I am claiming that every single one of us has been dishonest and done stupid things at some stage in our lives, especially before we hit 30.

      I look forward to hearing you to prove me wrong.

    2. I agree with LJH – Brits On Pole. We have all done something wrong, the only thing different here is that what HAM has admitted to affects more people than just himself, some friends or family. This affects his team, the sport and his fans around the world, including me. We put this boy/man up on a pedestal because of his success and the great driver that he is. That does not mean that he is any less human and susceptible to the same mistakes we ALL make, have made, or will make in the future. It also does not mean that the mistakes that make, have made, or will make in the future are any less worse than his.

      I had a hard time believing all that was written over the last couple days. Partially because I didnt want to and partially because I m distrustful of the FIA for many dubious decisions over the last year involving this sport. The fact is Lewis has been bred as a McLaren team member, to do what they said when they said without question and this isn’t the first time it’s gotten him in trouble I suspect. I hope he has learned from it and can avoid stuff like this in the future, if given the opportunity. With this admission of guilt from both McLaren and Lewis, I am truly disappointed that everything written over the last couple days turned out to be true.

      This actually makes me not want to watch ‘the show’ any longer. I found it extremely difficult to watch practice last night, I hardly paid attention. But believingly, Hamilton and McLaren will move on, get back on track and this will be enough for the FIA so we can enjoy the rest of the season.

  9. This is without a doubt a very regrettable situation.

    Dave Ryan no doubt went in unprepared properly, paranoid about the Spa incident, and make a severe error of judgement. Hamilton niavely took Daves lead and contributed to the cause.

    Hamiltons reputation is (and forever will be) tarnished. However as has already been said, if he keeps his head down and delivers solid drives and performances, shows respect to his peers and authorities, then hopefully he can leave this in the shadows.

  10. I’m impressed by Hamilton’s apology, it takes courage to face up to your errors in front of so many people.

    I also think McLaren have let down Lewis severely on various occasions and a move to another team would release him from the ‘reared from a kid’ relationship that seems to prevent him from going with his own instinct on this kind of issue. (I say this fully presuming that McLaren will back on the pace in another 2-3 races.)

    1. Dave has the take on the situation just about right in my opinion. Lewis has shown considerable courage to apologise.

      Lewis is guilty of obeying and being loyal to his surrogate parents, this episode is a hard lesson for any man in being independant and behaving like a man. Particulalrly for a man so frecly loyal and grateful to his mentors. As all gardians are, Maclaren team are guilty of letting down their sibling. Maclaren will have to regain the confidence of Lewis, his followers, the UK and his fellow F1 drivers.

      Go forward Lewis and be proud of what you have done today, learn the lesson and fight back with the good character that you have in abundance.

    2. Thanks Griff. I think Hamilton’s statement says it all (taken from FIA site):

      ‘As soon as I got out of the car I had the television interviews at the back of the garage, and straight away I gave them a good account of what happened during the race. Straight after that we were requested by the stewards, and while waiting I was instructed and misled by my team manager to withhold information, and that is what I did. I sincerely apologise to the stewards for wasting their time. I’d like to say sorry to all my fans who have believed in me, and have supported me for years. I am not a liar or a dishonest person. I am a team player. Every time I have been informed to do something I have done it. This time I realise it was a huge mistake. I am learning from it. It has taken a huge toll on me.’

    3. I am inclined to agree here too. Whilst I in no way condone his actions, what he and the team did was a really really bad move, i think it did take guts to go out and do that press conference and admit he was in the wrong – even if he did pass the buck a little.

      Everyone will have been economical with the truth at some point in their life, and pushed the blame onto someone else who wasnt really at fault – its just that Hamilton’s was on a massive scale! He lost his points, his reputation has taken a huge dent – I dont think too much more should be made of it. Certainly nothing as harsh as some have suggested in the other thread.

      He should have stood up for himself and said what he wanted to rather than what he was told to by his team in this case though – a case of towing the team line a little too far! He will certainly have learnt his lesson though!

      And i cant quite beleive i am ‘sticking up’ for Hamilton – he is hardly one of my favourites!!!

    4. I agree. The apology was sincere- he seemed to be genuinely upset by his actions, not just upset for having to apologise.

  11. Agree with LJH; to take a couple of points for fresh consideration.

    1. Why has no proper focus been put on Vettel’s reckless jaunt after the shunt with Kubica (that I feel was a racing incident) but the aftermath should have been a focus for this site. Just feel the blog is getting reactive rather than breaking new ground and being independent. I wouldn’t get too worried about hits on the site as you certainly have the journalistic skill and the clarity of mind to take on issues – just would encourage you to think beyond what everyone is concentrating on and play into FIA’s machinations.

    Also Mr B’s one man’s effort to rearrange the bodywork of Waugh and Kimi with his front girder !! again something no other site has really focused on and would have appreciated your clarity on these issues and then debate.

    1. I don’t know what you mean by ‘reckless jaunt’? Vettel apologised after the Kubica accident, which may even have had a role to play in him getting punished.

      It’s just occured to me – do you mean when Vettel tried to drive back on three wheels? I have no complaint about that, I thought it was gutsy.

      As for “think beyond what everyone is concentrating on and play into FIA’s machinations” I haven’t read many articles on other sites about what I think is the most important issue here, the FIA’s poor stewardship of the races. Turn to the other part of the article for that: Two sides to the Hamilton-Trulli controversy: Another avoidable crisis

    2. The FIA stewarding was something I picked up on my blog as well.

      It’s seemed to work out nicely for the stewards, who have had the flak taken off them by the size of the scandal, and it’s main direct at Hamilton and McLaren.

    3. KP, this is the whole problem. The spotlight is always on Lewis despite other just as weighty issues and mistakes etc going on. He is targeted unfairly and I fear will always be because of his colour.

  12. On a personal level, I do feel sorry for him. He must be kicking himself so hard now (or wishing he could). He’s young and still learning, but seems to have a knack for attracting an increasingly escalating series of penalties (can we get a list, I suspect the severity has been increasing exponentially).

    From a professional perspective, he needs to step up and take a leadership role within the team. This sort of “going along with the team” must end. He’s a world champion whether he likes it or not and needs to set an example for the younger drivers on the grid, not to mention upcoming drivers in the feeder series. I can easily imagine Alonso or a young Schumi doing exactly that, so his age shouldn’t be an excuse.

    I know all of the above is easier said than done, and that 90% of the world couldn’t do it. But who said life is fair? :)

  13. In regards to whether Schumacher was ever publically outed as a cheat or liar.
    There were many incidents which a lot of people questioned and I think all of them added up and damaged his legacy. Whilst I agree for most of them no official action was taken he did get punished sometimes. Probably the three main incidents people bring up about Schumacher are.

    Title showdown 1994 when he clashed with Hill he was never punished so it is only peoples suspicions he did it on purpose. I remember reading an interview with Patrick Head a year or two ago were he said the only reason they didn’t protest what Schumacher did was because Senna had died in one of their cars earlier in the season.

    Title showdown 1997 when he hit Villeneuve. Without looking up the details I can’t remember if Schumacher actually put his hand up to say he did it on purpose but the FIA did exclude him from the Championship so they obviously thought he was guilty.

    I have seen some argue the only difference between 1994 and 1997 was that what Schumacher did worked in 1994 and it didn’t in 1997. Also that the FIA wouldn’t have taken any action then because it would have meant changing the Drivers Champion in the courts, and that overall the 1997 punishment didn’t mean much for someone who was only interested in finishing first, considering he kept his race wins and wasn’t banned from any further races as a result.

    Qualifying Monaco 2006, when he parked his car on the circuit to stop anyone beating his pole time. He and Ferrari claimed he just locked up and ran wide, but the stewards deemed it deliberate (effectively saying Schumacher lied to them) and he was demoted to the back of the grid for the start of the race.

    So while Hamilton may go on to be regarded as one of the greatest drivers of all time, like Schumacher, people will have plenty of ammunition when making the case against him.

  14. I think everyone is making such a big deal of this. May he who has never made a mistake in his life, raise his hand.
    So what ? let Lewis live his life and race. No one will remember this dumb incident in 2 years, let alone 10.
    The world of F1 is run by Mathusalem Bernie, Papa Mo, Flavor Flav and Lou , and anyone else is punished at the first opportunity.

  15. Intestingly the only person whose side of the story we havent heard is Dave Ryan. I dont think there is a conspiracy against him but he was the one who has been zeroed as the ‘mastermind’.

    I understand that Lewis took a “lot” of heat on this issue but if I was in the shoes of the McLaren management I would go thru any length to protect my face to the world, which is Lewis.

    I am not saying they did it, but if they wanted to this is what they would have done.

    On the other side, what bothered me the most was that Lewis simply watched as Trulli was given an unjust penalty. That was very sad.

  16. 1. McLaren and Hamilton are being cowardly for making a scapegoat out of Dave. Hamilton is the driver and public face of the team and he needs to take responsability for what he says and does. Being the team’s puppet does not excuse anyone from being responsible for their actions.

    2. I do not believe that Hamilton was being sincere in his apology. In his short F1 carreer, we have seen how his drive for winning it all has gotten in the way of common sense and honesty.

    3. I typically go to speedtv.com after the races to read up on commentary and interviews. After reading Hamilton’s immediate account of what happened and finding out that Trulli had been penalised, I immediately said that Trulli had been wronged in the worst way possible as he was innocent.

    1. Jonats, Ryan was team manager and briefed Hamilton on the ‘team position.’ LH made a mistake in following this instruction. But the weight of responsibility falls on Ryan, obviously.

      Your opinion on his sincerity is that – just an opinion.

      The correct relative positions of Trulli and Hamilton under the SC after Trulli span off are still, I think, unclear. But going by the initial FIA judgement, the stewards thought Trulli had effectively lost his position to Hamilton – otherwise by deliberately passing him (which was their assessment of the event the first time round) Trulli would merely be reassuming his correct position.

      The controversy caused by Hamilton and Ryan has obscured this issue – for now!

    2. David,

      Regardless of what the team told him, he had the option as a person to make the right decision. Everyone has that option. He also remained silent while Trulli was being punished for no reason at all and would not have come clean had the FIA not reopened the investigation.

      With regards to track position. I believe that when Trulli went off, then Hamilton was right to take 3rd position and Trulli seemed to understand that. Once Hamilton obeyed McLaren’s orders to let Trulli repass, then Hamilton gave up 3rd position. This is known. Had McLaren and Hamilton told the truth at the time of inquiry, then Trulli would not have been penalised and Hamilton would’ve gotten his 4th spot and McLaren would’ve learned a lesson a lot less harsher than the one they’re learning now.

  17. Two things annoyed me about this.
    1) FIA Stewards and race control not sorting this out sooner or before the end of the race.
    2) Despite being a fan of Lewis and his driving, I feel it is unsporting to try and hide the truth about an incident that has occurred.

    Maybe times have changed and I’m living in a dream world, but Sir Stirling Moss would not have lied to the stewards for his own personal, or teams gain. In fact he stood up for Hawthorn who was a rival to get him reinstated in the Portuguese GP 1958.

    Unfortunately for us F1 has been let down by it’s own champion. I’m hoping Lewis will learn from it and stand on his two feet and do what he feels right and not what the team always wants.

    Ron Dennis wanted Lewis to learn the rule book in detail. He should have known he was ok to be ahead of Trulli and stayed there.

    1. He did no the rules if you listen to the radio he in fact throught it was fine and just wanted clarification from the team.

      Some clarification he got!!!!

    2. Williams 4ever
      3rd April 2009, 16:20

      Ron Dennis wanted Lewis to learn the rule book in detail. He should have known he was ok to be ahead of Trulli and stayed there.

      Chalky Good Point there – Ron Dennis had publicly stated that he insisted Lewis should be aware of Rules before he stepped on the grid in 2007. One correction though. As per the same rulebook, it was Trulli’s position though he had off track excursion behind safety car. And to start with Hamilton had reinstated Trulli by letting him pass.
      Now the incident has taken a totally different tangent and become Lying case. It should be noted that Oz Stewards were not aware of the rules as well. Just the running order when Safety car was deployed was enough evidence that Trulli was not wrong to take back his position and Lewis was not wrong in giving back the position.

      This is just FIA passing the blames for incompetence of its stewards ( people who voted to keep Spanky in power).

      About McLaren, there have been too many of these waffles and PR Gaffes in recent years..doesn’t reflect well of the team overall. I have lost trust and faith in this team since end of 2005 season.

  18. He’s done the right thing now. Hands up and apologised. Although it’s safe to say that he wouldn’t have mentioned anything had the case not been reopened.

    It’s utterly ridiculous and distinctly unfair that people are branding him a liar, cheat, scoundrel or whatever after such a relatively minor indiscretion. Especially when faced with his illustrious and successful career to date.

    No one ever tarnishes Senna’s entire career with the Suzuka 1990 incident which was without a doubt one of the most blatant acts ever that could have been damaging to the sport. A move Senna openly admitted was pre meditated and deliberate.

    Lewis is just one of those drivers that come through once per generation that are constantly in the limelight through their uninhibited, passionate pursuit of success and victory at any cost.

    This is ONLY the beginning! I love the guy.

  19. I am a Lewis/ McLaren fan and I am disappointed. But he has come clean so I will give him a break. Now I know many will not but if anyone can say they have not made a mistake then I would like to meet this perfect person. His embarrassment and shame is massive, but he will learn from it. Give him a chance the same chance you would want for yourself.

  20. @Lynn

    Please note the point lewis has not some out clean….Mclaren have tried to shield Lewis by making Davey the scape goat here…….Lewis should have know better not to lie ……he is a cheat period

    1. Yes, varun, you are right he is a cheat that’s for sure. But beating him over the head is not going to change anything. I hope if you ever make a mistake ( I assume you are perfect) you will get understanding and time to redeem yourself. Because you see, non of know what is around the corner for us do we. You don’t have to understand or give him a chance that’s up to you. I am also sure you understand why McLaren have tried to shield him. Of course I am not party to the inner workings of McLaren but I am not surprised. Sadly it seems like Davey had to fall on his sword, it happens, it’s not fair, but hopefully in the fullness of time it will come good for him too. What Lewis did was shameful, he should have known better you are right again, but he did it and that cannot be changed. All he can try to do is redeem himself. If that’s not enough for F1, he could just throw in the towel.

    2. Lynn

      I never told you I am perfect so I tell you not to assume things and make your own conclusions.

      I agree with your other comments

  21. Had Lewis Hamilton and the entire Mclaren team management (if you can call them that) said “We told Lewis to let Jarno Trulli past.” this entire debate would have been unneccessary.

    What they did initially, namely lying so as to get a competitor punished for a fictitious breach of the rules is unacceptable in any sport.

    1. And had the Stewards bothered to brief themselves properly before issuing their punishment of Trulli, then none of this would have occurred.

      My opinion hasn’t changed a bit. To me it is immaterial if Lewis lied or mislead them or whatever. The Stewards had the information there to sort that out at the time and through nothing but sheer incompetence did not do so. As I said on the other thread it is their JOB to sort things like this out, and that means reviewing radio transmissions, telemetry, talking to both drivers. After taking all the information into consideration THEN you make your determination. And part of being able to do that job in the first place is having the ability to sort through the BS to be able to determine the truth. People always slant their versions to make themselves look better – human nature. A good adjudicator can see past that.

      As someone who arbitrates on disputes for a living, if I made such a hash of reviewing disputes as the Stewards have done, I’d have been sacked long ago.

      The spotlight is on Lewis again, but it really should be shining on the incompetence of the FIA.

  22. LJH – Obviously everyone makes mistakes, even more under 30, but a high-level sportsman like Hamilton or Nadal (who is younger than the brit) should be prepared to face situations like these, should know what to say, what not to say… he knew what he did was wrong, he knew there was some risk involved in telling lies, but obviously he and the team underestimated the risk, and that’s the strangest thing of all, because, after all, their radio talk was taped…

    I think he was an honorable man when he said he was sorry, I think he deserves to be forgiven, but not for being a “young boy”, that’s my point…

  23. Mystic Pizza
    3rd April 2009, 14:40

    Whether it was done for the team good or not, his body language indicated on Sunday that something was amiss. Most drivers, including Hamilton tend to get a bit upset if they feel injustice has occured on the track e.g. DC and Massa as per the Australian Grand Prix 2008. With the adrenaline and testosterone flying as well as on occasion bits of car, tempers can get a bit heated especially if you feel hard done by. Instead of any flashes of irritation of being resigned to fourth place as well he might given the understanding of that point in time that he was illegitimately passed by Trulli under Safety Car conditions, there was nothing and he probably looked a little sheepish instead of the arrogant swagger that’s been allowed to develop. Having been on the receiving end of a couple of bad decisions from the Stewards in the past, perhaps he didn’t think this one would work in his favour either, who knows for sure apart from him?

    Whatever the underlying reasons were for this situation he’s found himself in, team player or not, innocent mistake or not, he needs to get his head back to being the refreshing down to earth Lewis that breezed onto the scene two years ago not the overinflated ego-boy that most media have already now started to question. As quickly as they build you up, they’re equally ready to knock you down so don’t give them any additional ammunition to be able to do this!

  24. Too many people are defending Hamilton in this situation. Let’s not forget, he till didn’t tell the stewards the truth, just because Dave Ryan told him to didn’t mean he had to do it.

  25. Point is, Lewis had to “come clean” now that the whole situation had been brought to light — there was no other option he could take.

    Also, looking at his statements, he kept repeating the words “misled” and “being a team player” … to me it just seems as if he’s deflecting the blame onto someone else.

    And I think Haas has hit it on the head … it is just awful that he had kept quiet while watching another driver get an unjust penalty … it is just plain despicable.

    1. Let’s play it back: Lewis slows down to let Trulli pass, Trulli accepts, though perhaps as unsure as Hamilton who should be where. This time, though, Lewis explains the radio confusion etc. properly to the FIA stewards. So what do they do? Should Trulli have been where he was, back in 3rd? If not, do they penalize Trulli for accepting 3rd place from Hamilton? Do they penalize Hamilton for giving him 3rd place (you never know, it’s FIA)? Or do they judge that Hamilton didn’t need to return the place, but since he did, the positions stand?

      As for deflecting the blame, I find this quite funny! I think he’s now told the truth about what exactly happened. It fits the facts: his first instinct to the press was to say he’d been told to give the position. His manager argued they should hide this fact (and had to lie when asked directly). But those such as your self supposedly wanting him to tell the truth to FIA would prefer he didn’t tell the truth about who’s idea it had been to lie! That kind of suggests your real interest is in denigrating Hamilton whatever way the wind blows. About right?

  26. I, like many, am far from being a fan of Hamilton. But in this case, I think he’s geunuinely learnt a lesson here and has handled it particularly well. For a defending champion’s first race, he’s gone through a lot, and I hope this turns out to a valuable experience for him. Hopefully this issue can just be put back now and concentrate on Malaysia and the next few races, like everyone else has said!

    I do have to say though, at the age of 24 I can think of things much worse that would’ve happened by now!

  27. I think drivers are in a difficult situation now, especially the Mclaren drivers. They will have to now go contrary to their “Team’s” line.
    The fact that Ryan was first to be questioned, means Hamilton had no choice but answer same as he did, or else if it had spilled out that Hamilton sold the team, Hamilton would be branded a traitor, thinking only for himself, by his usual detractors.
    He is clearly in a no win situation.

  28. Hamilton HAD to say that. McLaren is not Hamiltons team. Hamilton is McLaren’s drivers and does what his boss tells him to do.

  29. Does Kester not remember that Ferrari was fined I believe for the Monaco parking?

    1. Why? I am sure it is not written in Lewis’contract with McLaren that he should lie or conceal facts when asked a question by the stewards? Lewis rarely takes full responsibility for his own actions, he deflects blame to protect his sponsorships. If my employer asked me to lie or conceal the truth to a court of law, I would not. If I lost my job over it, so be it. I could not work for a dishonest employer. It seems very weird to me that both McLaren and Lewis withheld information over 1 measly point at the beginning of the season, if it was at the end of the season, I could see why they would do it (however wrong & morally questionable) but surely they must have forgotten about the radio evidence. McLaren have proven before that they are not above breaking the rules to gain an advantage, the infamous stolen work papers last season and if Lewis continues to drive for them, he has to expect his reputation will be tarnished and accept the consequences

  30. I don’t think I realised the scale of the situation until I saw Hamilton’s apology, and how difficult it was for him. He did wrong whether he was following orders or not, but as I believe he WAS following his bosses orders, I think he should be cut a tiny bit of slack. I don’t think he lied to gain a place, I think he lied because he was instructed to, although I don’t deny that was still a seriously misguided desicion by Hamilton.

    1. You put it well Matt. His apology looks and sounds sincere, from the heart and – ironically for the situation – very honest. He did wrong, he knows he did wrong, and even if it is a bit late, he has admitted he did wrong. I very much doubt he will ever do this again.

  31. News just coming in that the legendary director stephen speilberg has plans to make a multi-million(perphaps to the tune of 100 million $ ). The new movie is titled LIAR LIAR II. Lewis ‘liar’ hamilton replaces Jim Carrey in the lead role. Vodafone r supposedly funding the entire movie. The movie also feature ron dennis as one of lewis’ co-actor. Rowan atkinson is supposedly to be writing hamiltons script. The movie is to be made in a record time. It is set to release during the british g.p. P.S. I SWEAR ON THE FIA’s CODE OF CONDUCT BOOK THAT THE ABOVE MENTIONED FACT IS TRU(LLI)E.

  32. we don’t know really if Ryan is the responsable, that is just what Mclaren said, may be they are trying to save Lewis with a new lie.
    Now we don’t have transcriptions of the team private conversations.
    Anyways, Lewis is old enough and should know what is correct and what isn’t. To lie, even under team orders has been proved as quite risky.
    In Hungary 2006 they had luck and now they thought this situation was going to be under control too.
    Well, i hope everything goes better for the rest of the season

  33. uppssss…
    Hungary 2007 :-)

  34. What’s with everyone here sitting on their high horses? Understand that it is extremely hard to balance the situations where loyalty and honesty conflict. Imagine your boss telling a lie at a business meeting, your spouse telling a lie at a dinner party do you cut in and correct them immediately, making them look very bad indeed in front of others or would you sing along that tune? There is one right thing to do but it is incredibly hard, don’t pretend otherwise.

  35. Ryan was the first to be interviewed according to the FIA, so Lewis could not have lied first before Ryan.

  36. ” I am not a liar or a dishonest person. I am a team player.”

    I´m afraid Lewis you are all three.

  37. ” I am not a liar or a dishonest person. I am a team player”

    A team player does not say: it is not my fault, it is the team’s fault… So why to believe the first part of the sentence?

    It worked in Hungary 2007 but it cannot work all the time.

    1. Williams 4ever
      3rd April 2009, 16:26

      I am a team player.”

      FYI – A team player would have followed the Team instructions and release Alonso and not attempted to botch his qualifying.

    2. ahh yes but doesn’t that mean that a team player would have followed Team instructions in Australia and lied? He certainly deserved a punishment, I’m just saying that being a team player meant following his bosses instructions, so there is some justification.

  38. I make no bones about it, I got into F1 because of Mr Hamilton and although I’m a little older and wiser now he is still my favourite driver. Lewis is a few months older than me and I will not use his age as defence in this matter. I’m really disappointed. During the race, in the heat of the moment he came across as wanting to do the correct thing, he was almost in a panic about it. Only afterwards did he, they or Mclaren decide to alter the truth for the own gains, which is what I find most distasteful.
    Unfortunately there is a huge difference to an apology based on its timing. After you are caught you are in effect made to do it, lessening the effect, no matter how genuine it may be. I would like to think I could apologise to the Toyota team and Jarno Trulli individually and hope Lewis will. Goodwill, while difficult to measure, is a very real quality and one which takes time to build.
    Finally, Lewis please do your racing on the track and not in the back rooms and my sympathies to Dave Ryan, scapegoat or otherwise.

  39. I believe Hamilton should apologize to Trulli first instead of fans and others. Trulli was branded with breaking the rules, handed a penalty and lost his hard earned position because of Hamilton’s lie , but still he never thought it was right to apologize to Trulli.

    Vettel and Hamilton are the 2 ends of the rainbow i believe. One person apologizes even before a mistake happens. The other person needs to be pushed hard even if it is his mistake!!!!!

    1. tmax, you are so correct! It is so interesting to see the comparison of how the other drivers on the circuit talk about Vettel and Lewis. No one driver has anything negative to say about Vettel, they always talk about him with the greatest respect for his driving skills and his personality. They all seem to be friends with him, as much as being competitors will allow. On the other hand, the other drivers on the circuit do not have such respect for Lewis, they acknowledge that Lewis certainly has talent but it is how he sometimes chooses to use that talent which they don’t respect. More than once they’ve questioned his sportmanship

  40. Does anyone really believe that Dennis and Whitmarsh did not know how the story would unfold at the Steward’s meeting? Dave Ryan is taking a bullet for the “honourable men” who run McLaren.

  41. Keith, I’ll happily tell you as an ardent fan what I think of this whole thing and give you a general idea of what other fans think.

    There is a Lewis Hamilton fan and inspiration site that has been set up by an individual, and the comments there have beautiful and supportive. There are one or two nasty comments, but they are from the usual suspects who always post nastiness on there (there are other websites dedicated to nastiness towards Lewis so they must have strayed from there). His FaceBook fan site is also very supportive. I suppose this illustrates that his fans have stuck by him and understand why this has all happened.

    IMO, Lewis gave an honest account of the race when he got out of the car to the media. He is naturally an honest person. The shenanigans over the Safety Car show that the McLaren team are so nervous of getting penalised, that even though they knew that Lewis should be okay going past Trulli when he went onto the grass, the fact that he has been penalised for doing no wrong in the past and that the FIA make up the rules as they go along, they were understandably erring on the side of caution and advised him to let Trulli by again. You could see the team weren’t sure what to do and wanted to speak to the race director (there doesn’t seem to be anyone else they could consult even if this action backfired on them in Spa 2008) but he wasn’t available (why???), so they were naturally in a tizzy as to what to do. I don’t think it’s a case that the McLaren team should get someone who knows the rules. They DO know the rules, but where has that got them so far? It is clear Lewis thought he was okay to have passed Trulli and while the team were faffing about on the radio, he let Trulli past without defending. The race stewards called Trulli and Hamilton to their office WITHOUT McLaren disputing the point, and obviously Lewis was advised to go along with the stewards’ version of events rather than admit they had asked Lewis to slow down. This was wrong, but I cannot blame Lewis for taking their advice. It was just after the race, things were happening so fast and he’s only human. I fully support him and always will because he has exceptional talent, is a decent, charming, honest good man, and is so fantastic with his fans. This whole thing has been blown way out of proportion, much more than if it was another driver. I do feel that they are out to get him in F1, but his team haven’t helped him this time. The media are also utterly disgraceful – the ‘Daily Mail’ published a ‘Lewis Hamilton crime sheet’ listing all the penalties he’s incurred in his F1 career insinuating that he has made a career out of cheating and flouting the rules.

    Where does Lewis go from here? He cannot be disloyal to the team that has nurtured him and funded him for years. He cannot ignore their advice over the radio because he is busy driving the car and has to rely on them for advice in the heat of a race. The team can’t get anyone who knows the rules any more than they do already, because it isn’t KNOWING the rules that is the problem. The problem is that the stewards are incompetent – why did they not study ALL the radio and telemetry evidence before they gave Trulli the 25 second penalty? In all honestly, that would have meant the question in the stewards’ office wouldn’t have been: “Were you instructed to slow down by your team to let Trulli retake his third place”, but the more informed one of “We just want to establish that you passed Trulli while he was on the grass which is legal. Then we heard your team on the radio instruct you to slow down and let him pass again which wasn’t strictly necessary, so instead of giving you your rightful 3rd place, we will keep the results as they are. Can you confirm that is acceptable or do you want to appeal? And incidentally, we will employ more than one race director in future who knows the rules inside out so you won’t have to frantically wait for advice during a race anymore.”

    This whole debacle is caused by incompetent and biased stewarding, McLaren panic and poor decision making, and totally inadequate race officials. This will happen again and again until the above are resolved. I completely absolve Lewis from any blame.

    1. Here, Here.

      To add to the eliquent statement above I belive Maclaren pit wall team are slightly weaker than the driving team. When the situation is critical they let uncertainty breed confusion, such as last Sunday and China 2007 to recall the most obvious. Their management and understanding of sporting rules and technical rules appear to struggle to match the pace of their lead driver. Maclarens autocratic management style, lead on by management principles slightly behind the performance on track, will lead to a situation that will “burn” (Martin Brundle)others. I am glad that Lewis may survive dispite Maclarens pit wall team. If Ray is part of the pit wall team it is my opinion that it was right for him to go. If he is not then the most senior member of the pit wall team should fall on his sword, for in Maclaren, it is the pit wall that controlls and instructs the whole Maclaren group and as such the pit wall that lead to this situation.

  42. MacademiaNut
    3rd April 2009, 16:21

    I am done with McLaren and HAM.

  43. Pete_Firestarter
    3rd April 2009, 16:26

    I honestly think that all this is a fuss!
    1) FIA Stewarts (or prats) have got access to all radio communication between driver and team. Therefore they SHOULD have known this info even before the 1st interview.
    2) Can someone tell me if they do not even have access to bbc tv? They easily could have had this info as well.

    SO why the hell did they say to Lewis and Dave that we heard your team radio and also seen lewis post-race tv interview?

    Liar this, Liar that. All crap to me.

  44. Hamilton is similar in making of the great Michael Schumacher. Built a team around him. You will see wonders and opposition having no answers. I believe Ferrari did a great job handling Schuey. Mclaren should also accept this fact ans start working with this sense. They have a history of not being able to handle the hot guys rightly be it Montaya, Alonso or Senna. Maybe all these red hot guys should look towards the red car. Those guys know exactly how to deal with these stuff. In fact they are getting a little impatient with the ICE man because that is not their USP. Come 2011 Lewis and Alonso team mates in a Ferrari :) it will be fun to watch. Given Kimi’s form and Renault’s troubles I would not be surprised to see Alonso in Ferrari maybe as soon as mid this year or 2010. :)

    1. Alonso would have a clause in his contract that said that he must always have a really really slow teammate, or no dice. He now has the perfect teammate in Piquet. I think Lewis and Alonso being teammates in the future is pure unadulterated fantasy.

  45. nomatter what you hamilton haters say ther fia is still stupid, racism is alive & kicking in f1 and there is a ferrari bias..

    1. I pity you Alvin K.

  46. It’s a shame Dave has been the one to “fall on his sword” over this, but McLaren can’t afford to admonish Lewis.

    Like it or not, Lewis and Heikki are the public faces of McLaren in F1. They get paid to drive, support the entire team, and carry out a full range of sponsor obligations.

    Now, I doubt Lewis will have weighed all of this up in a few moments while being questioned by the stewards, but he is an intelligent driver, and could have said “Guys, I have to be honest, this is how it went down…” and he could have done it with a phone call or in writing straight after the original hearing, if he didn’t want to seem to be going against the team, in front of his racing manager.

    If you are going to take the risk to lie … then you better have your corner covered. You cannot “wing-it” although Shumi has pulled that off a few times.

    Good to see though that he did bite the bullet and apologise, but what a mess. Lewis’ reputation has taken a big hit, as well as the team, the extended team, and the sponsors, who are all facing budget pressures to get their return on investment in F1 at the moment.

    There is that there is no point slagging off the FIA or the process, it is what it is. At the end of the day Lewis has the #1 on his car and is the world champion, he is in a position to think for himself and quite easily have not taken the given advice. He would also have had the support of Dennis had he done so.

    The team must be shattered, it was a series of very bad calls, and Whitmarsh is to blame here to…at a sensitive time for F1. Worse of all, it could have all been avoidable. You cannot buy trust or reputation after all.

  47. Alvin K is right and if you think this is the end it’s just the beginning… the truth will come out ONE BIG day. A campaign REDCARD TO RACISM IN F1 should start now. Last year is was hard for all F1 lover, not this time again…..

  48. I have just watched the press interview on the BBC website interview Hamilton and I must say how impressed I was by this mans character. How many past champions have come out and faced the music and been man enough to own up to a mistake. Let’s not get this blown out of proportion he done nothing wrong on the track, can we say the same, for Schumacher, Senna, Prost ?? No we can’t. I for one recall many instances whereby these former champions have commited foul play and there has been no retrobution. The man was sincere and my admiration for not only Hamilton as a commited dedicated professional but as a man has increased ten fold. I am old enough and wise enough to know what goes on in the world of F1 and everyone needs to remember and ask themselves, What would I have done? Give the guy a break and let’s get back to Racing

  49. The trouble with the apology is that he sounds like he’s sorry for getting caught, not for doing what he did.

    And he’s hiding behind “team orders”. Typical excuse of war criminals, “I was only following orders, what else could I do?”

    Instead of throwing Ryan under the bus he should have said “I knew it was wrong but I was caught up in the moment and suffered a lapse of judgment. I should have talked Ryan into presenting the truth as we knew it.” That’s what leadership is.

    He’s young enough to recover from this, as long as the FIA don’t over react with some outlandish penalty like a season long exclusion.

  50. His apology is pretty selfish. I think it should be entirely focused on Jarno who he knowingly striped of podium and put at the back of the grid. Apologizing to the fans and telling them how good of a person he is was not a gutsy apology. He did get caught red handed.

    He is his own man and should have known better than to follow his manager. Especially since he gave that interview minutes before that contradicted his official statement.

    On the other hand look what happened to Vettel when he fessed up to his mistake. He received a severe penalty for close racing. I think loosing a podium finish on the season opener and honestly apologizing to Kubica and BMW was enough “punishment”

    1. I’ve watched the apology and my honest estimation of the apology is that it was all designed for damage control, not true contrition. It was carefully worded to appease FIA so they would not escalate the issue to higher authority and ban him for the season. I think it was also to appease the press, fans and sponsors. To me, yes it was too much like the war criminal defence, just following orders. Yes, but the reply, dear Lewis, should have been, hey team it is only one point, we’re not sure so why should we risk everything over 1 point at the beginning of the season. Having said that, I don’t think the apology was easy for him and there was some true emotion, mostly embarrassment, and disappointment that his credibility has been shot

  51. Dave Ryan and Hamilton are not the first people to lie to the FIA (I take the stewards to be the representatives of the FIA at races). Not very long ago, Bernie Ecclestone told the WMSC that all the teams supported the idea of awarding the championship to the driver with most wins. This was a deliberate attempt to mislead the delegates and it succeeded, according to Max Mosley. The lie is quite apparent now that the teams have reasserted what was obvious from their very different proposal for a change to the points system.

    What censure has Bernie endured as a result, may I ask?

  52. All I can say to any crisis is… SOME are to blame, ALL are responsible.

    All = Lewis, McLaren seniors, Dave Ryan, FIA race control, FIA, Trulli, Journos, Fans.

    I give a big hand to Lewis for apologising like a man.

    1. napalmblower
      3rd April 2009, 19:04

      Freeman , it was not a manly act , he had no choice , else he might face some thing severe. So he did.
      He did say sorry last year after canadian gp incident, but it was half hearted , now he made an attempt to make it look like original , because he learned this incident might affect his earning power .

  53. Good on Hamilton for expressing remorse and explaining the situation! It was clearly owed to the fans. Whether or not you like Hamilton, it is clear that he was put in this position by his team, since he told the truth right after the race, and I dont think he deserves any blame. A driver’s highest allegiance is (sadly) to their employer, not the FiA, or the fans, and Lewis acted accordingly.

    I do sincerely hope that this does not taint his career significantly. What would you have done if you were in his shoes? Its easy to say you’d tell the truth, but would any driver do so if it meant risking their relationship with a team that had supported you for well over a decade?

    I think McLaren deserves all of the blame for this, as we expect this level of ineptitude from the FiA, but McLaren should know better after spygate.

  54. Sorry, I cannot see a controversy here or the need for two sides. He and his team lied and cheated, he got punished. Hopefully, for the seriousness of the sport, there is a more severe penalty to come.

    And let’s stop trying to find excuses such as “he is young” or “he has regretted”.

    1. I strongly agree.

  55. I’m just really disappointed in Lewis and McLaren. Ok, they’ve had a tough time with the stewards before and I completely understand their hesitance when it came to overtaking Trulli, but they shouldn’t have lied in the stewards’ enquiry.

    They showed an incredible lack of common-sense when they obscured the truth – they should have known that the truth would come out!

    You can’t show such disrespect to the invigilators however little you think of their decisions – they can’t be expected to make a fair judgement when people are concealing the truth about events.

  56. McLaren has a long, well documented history of lying and cheating. So the question is, was Lewis a liar before he joined McLaren or did he learn to lie from the team? Either way, the “Lewis the Liar” tag will stick with him his whole life.

  57. when will people realize that LW is a danger to the sport, he showed it last year in the pit lane when he ran over with KR , then blamed the rule, passing in the rain causing accidents, because he is better drive, winning the championship by finishing 5th. Now he wants us to feel sorry for him and accept his apologize because he was told to lie? BS stand up Lewis and accept the person that you are or have become, a cheater, a liar and a spoiled little brat or Britt.

  58. Once a Liar
    3rd April 2009, 18:46

    Sorry blokes he is quoted as saying “he follows team orders”..what a joke; he is a grown man. But still a greedy little liar…anything to win eh? This kind of lie deserves a year off the track.

  59. I really hope thos soap is over and let’s see ONLY on the track, who are the fastest and the more reliable.

  60. It’s strange, I never really know what to believe. McLaren haven’t got the best reputation of late which is not to say they’re guilty of everything they’re accused of but at the same time…..is it reasonable to think that they’re being ‘framed’ for each and every instance of wrong doing?

    Hamilton doesn’t strike me as someone who is inherently dishonest (as well as you can know someone whom you’ve never met….LOL) and McLaren…..well…..I’ve never been a fan irrespective of my love for Ferrari. And I’m a KIWI!!!….LOL

    Formula One……is a fantastically huge and expensive machine and it’s fueled by one thing……MONEY!!! As many on this site have noted, we’re only into the first race of the season and we’ve had a multitude of controversy. One reason (if I may so humbly speculate)…..is that every point that a team gains is equitable to a nominal amount of money that team will receive. Therefore at any given opportunity, regardless of whether sportsmanship is at stake, any team will try and nail any other team if it means they will obtain an extra point or so (which equates to an enormous amount of money).

    T’is is shame because whilst the rest of us F1 enthusiasts endeavour to look at each situation dispassionately and justly….I fear that the notion of good conduct will always take a back seat to any potential monetary gains that a team could make.

    We see F1 as a sport – the teams, FIA and FOM see it as a business.

    Please forgive me if my ramblings have done nothing more than stated the obvious but I find it hard to chastise anyone (in this case Hamilton) when the information that we receive is more than likely spurious.

    Assuming of course that what we’ve read is true, then I feel disappointed in Hamilton/McLaren and for the sport.

    Still……no matter what happens, I’ll always be fan of Formula One……because I absolutely love it! :-)

  61. Case Closed. I am a Hamilton fan but he screwed up and is paying for it. No one likes it when here guy is penalized but when they get caught in something they should not have done well then time to pay the piper. I will still rout for him. Now can we move on and go back to racing and put this behind us. Hamilton lied and got caught and got penalized and was right to be. Time to go back to the racing.

  62. I really hope this soap is over and let’s see ONLY on the track, who are the fastest and the more reliable.

  63. He won’t be the first or the last person to toe the company line, trust the british media to hang him before the trial…

  64. Having watched the press conference from Lewis. It’s clear to me that this was an heartfelt felt apology. You could tell that he was in torment and meant what he said. It’s now reported that the FIA has accepted his apology, but his team could still face sanctions. Let this be a lesson for Lewis, because it wasn’t worth it.

  65. It’s about time formula 1 got their act together as far as sorting things out,this is the only sport that there is always controversy.You watch the race see the drivers on the podium then all change the winner is not the winner the driver in third ends up being second,if formula 1 does not sort things out people will stop watching it,problems should be sorted out when the race is running so the results stand and everybody including the drivers know were they are.Mr Moseley pull your finger out of your A*** and sort things out once and for all.

  66. bobmarshall
    3rd April 2009, 19:16

    footballers dive,
    cricketers nick it and don’t walk,
    tennis players argue over every close line decision,
    Cyclists take drugs & only apologise if they’re caught,

    How much could that 1 point be worth at the end of the year? (cash & championship wise)

    Is everyone really saying they thought Formula 1 was above this? (prost 1989, senna 1990, schumacher 1994, 1997, 2006)

    The main problem is that there are too many rules that are written badly & the sport is being run by 2 power & money hungry old men with no idea of what their fans want.

    None of this would of happened if they had just reversed the results from 3rd to 4th or vice-versa with a touch of common sense & class, as would of happened in any other form of motorsport.

    anyway, why didn’t they red flag the thing when Vettal & kubica crashed – another thing that would have happened anywhere else.

    (oh yeah I reckon Hamilton & his team are really stupid for doing this & the DSQ was fully deserved)

  67. I am a big Lewis fan but really feel let down by all of this, how did it all come to this over just 1 point? I am truly gutted and do feel a bit let down by Lewis and McClaren.

    I will give him the benefit of the doubt this time but he really has to keep his head down and just race race race! I hope that media and public forgive him over time and he contonues to be successful.

    Just a thought about being in the stewards office. If Dave had been asked 1st about letting Trulli past and he said no, how awkward would it have been for Lewis to go against him? Doesn’t mean he can lie I know but an awkward situation non-the-less.

  68. I have never seen a team with such a massive potential to score and own goal. I like the fairy tale story of Dennis discovering Hamilton and nurturing his rise through the ranks and into F1 and on to the world championship. However it thus seem more and more obvious that Mclaren has also found a way to damage his integrity. I think one way or the other, it may be best if he leaves that team sad as the case may be.
    Mclaren just have a way of doing the right thing the wrong way.

  69. Polak … where on earth do you leave, the man has apologised and so give him the credit. He did not fight anyone or accuse. F1 and the stewards are out to get him… Trulli was on the podium.. Lewis didn’t complain after the race… they(F1 Mafia working for Massa/Kimi) are the ones who started this saga. If it was left as it was this would not have happened… conspiracy against a young black british driver… nosense to this b****s**** about Lewis trying to cheap. His interview after the race was simple and straight forward… he didn’t mention being robbed… to him 4th place was good enough… but alas the F1 Mafia are at it again. trying to unsettle him at the early stages of the season…

    Be Strong Lewis! Please Continue to support this talented man!

  70. Ah!!!! what happened to the option to edit an earlier post?

  71. Mr. Serious
    3rd April 2009, 19:35

    I hope all the drama-nuts don’t read too much into this as I don’t wuite believe this will happen and certainly not in a hating way, but this could potentially add momentum to Hamilton starting to see greener grass elsewhere; i.e not at McLaren. As I say it’s not something I expect to see but this is the kind of situation that can begin such events

    1. What was Lewis expected to do, go to the stewards by himself and say:

      ‘listen guys, dont tell my team i told you this, but i was told to slow down and let Trulli by’!

      That would’ve got him in trouble with everybody, for something that was not his fault.

      His team said ‘let Trulli pass’, and then his superior told him to stick with the story in front of the stewards. The plan did not work. Its wasn’t Lewis’s idea, he just did as he was told by Dave Ryan.

      Ryan made a bad decision. But McLaren have been at the receiving end of so many dubious judgments from Ecclestone’s FIA for the last 2 years with goal posts shifting so many times that the team is in a constant state of confused fear when it comes to on track protocols.

      Neither Lewis nor Ryan set out to deceive anyone. When they thought Lewis passed illegally, they surrenderd 3rd position back to Trulli.

      A ruthless cheating team/driver would never have done that, certainly don’t see Schumacher/Ferrari doing it.

      The FIA decided that they should have that 3rd place back, they decided to keep it this time, and put a lid on the whole thing, after all they drove a clean race and did not initiate this incident.

      However when the details came out, i believe Dave Ryan should have put his hands up and say, as we heard on the radio, ‘I told Lewis to slow down’. He didn’t and that is where the fault lies, not with Lewis.

      I would have been more disappointed in Lewis had he ratted his boss and team. Instead he went along with the decision, because as a team you sink and swim together. He was loyal to Dave and McLaren. It is they that let him down, again!

  72. Hamilton lying typifies the arrogance he has like Schumacher before him.

  73. i dont really care. his human, ppl lie. thats life. get over it. hamilton is still the 1 to beat so stop cryin over it!

  74. Macademianut
    3rd April 2009, 19:45

    What I don’t agree with the entire process is that the stewards were not penalized in any form.

    1. When they have the radio conversation, why do they have to question HAM and the team manager?

    2. If you had asked TRU or GLO if their wing was according to spec during the qualification of Australian GP, they would have said YES. But, upon inspection FIA finds the wings illegal. So, they would have misled FIA. So, should they be punished?

    It is a shame that HAM lied just to get one more point. I am hoping that he will not be McLaren’s momma-boy and will stand up to what the truth is.

    Why are the stewards not punished for not looking into all the data before they gave out the verdict? There is no apology from the stewards for overlooking the data that they had.

    1. I am sorry but Hamilton did not lie. He won that 3rd place fair and square in a car that did not deserve to be there. He did not fall off the track and cause this incident and when he was told to give up the place he did.

      We dont know who did the talking at the Stewards inquest, and i would say it was Rayn who did that, being the superior.

      Hamilton got caught up in Dave Ryan’s bad call/lie and was torn between team loyalty and creating stink over something that was NOT HIS FAULT!

    2. napalmblower
      3rd April 2009, 21:44

      steward`s respected lewis and ryans words as they represented mclaren , but they lied …. and got there ass raped …thats it

  75. Hey there everyone,

    I’ve posted my opinion a few times already today, and the more I think about this, the more upset at Hamilton i am. His Apology doesn’t register on my scale. he sells out his sporting director? where does he get off? I’m a team player, but the captain did it…..(pointing a finger).

    his apology is entirely stupid and leaks worse than a fishing net. the points follow. one major point actually,

    Hami says that his Superior misled him and told him what to say just before the went to talk to the stewards.
    how daft is Hamilton?

    he had already talked to the press… what did he think? people wouldn’t notice? Didn’t he have the brain to inform his superior that he had already talked to the press and his superior’s genius plan wouldn’t survive the night?

    and since he himself knew that he told the press, how does he accept to be pulled into such a stupid lie. regardless of who told him what to do.

    Hamilton is a part of the McLaren mechanism it seems, a mechanism that sometimes commits intentional errors. If he truly considers himself a Champion, and understood the seriousness of his role,he would have realized what he had to do, and that is not go along, but set the pace.
    i thought being W.C would buy you some leadership in an F1 team, it seems Hami is not fit for even that. so instead of leading by example, he was led to do wrong, which amounts to the same as intentionally doing wrong, and my verdict is that he is found guilty of being an idiot.

    seriously… this is the first time i get worked up that much about something stupid in F1, for some reason, the way Hami and McLaren tried to weasel their way out of this one despite the obvious truth insults me, and insults every person.

    in older cases, like Schumi in Monaco, or Adelaide, you can relate that it was what he said that only counts, because there was no recording of what what went through his head, so we could be skeptical and say, yeah right, but ultimately only he knew what actually happened, and there was a chance that it might of been true.

    but lying bluntly….

    I think McLaren should pull Hamilton out of this race if they want to win moral points. if the FIA doesn’t come down on him quick, McLaren should do their bid and ban him for at least 2 races, or what kind of example would they be setting. that is if they are not in on it, and the poor sporting director was a scapegoat, which isn’t too far a probability.

    imagine, reason for getting fired? didn’t lie good enough… Lack of imagination

    1. your essay reeks of contempt for Lewis (Hami, i believe you call him) and i dont think this has anything to do with the incident under discussion btw. I refer you to my post above, and i think it is sad how ppl are jumping so quickly on the Lewis Hamilton hate bandwagon…. :(

    2. hey man, don’t you get it?

      The stupid thing was done by McLaren itself. You can say Lewis shouldn’t follow orders and should have told the truth to the stewards, I’m OK with that, but all he did in the radio and all was asking is it was ok to do so (stay ahead of Trulli) – the joke is on the team that should just sais YES – Trulli went out of track, you are P3. Keep position.

      If that would have happened, nothing else would have been talked about. End of story…

      So, again, the Team is to blame, and as must as a McLaren fan that I am, shame on them for being stupid to themselves… If anybody should be angry is Lewis for have a boss who can’t give him on the race the info he needed and after that tells him to lie about it, our omit it from the stewards. Those guys who had the radio transmission already, simply didn’t look at it – all radio transitions between teams and drivers are recorded by FIA.

      There are no intensions of misleading anything until that gut told Hamilton to lie. Can you imagine a team spending lots of money to develop a car, improve it, pay the drivers all that machine at Woking working around the clock and suddenly they deliberately lie the FIA to get an extra ONE point, risking it all… as it happened… They got them.

      Just put yourself in Lewis shoes for sec and think in a few seconds he had the decide what to do, what would YOU do?… Tell the truth and create an impossible working environment for the rest of the year or years…? I think got.

      Hamilton is a victim here as he were other times when Alonso create lots of trouble to the team because he thought, as world champions we would have special treatment and the other driver was only there to make number as it happens now with Piquet… Alonso is like Schumacher was… Always get a ‘tiny’ team mate and if he starts to get too close, dump him and get another rookie.
      You think that Massa would be in Ferrari today if at his side was Schumacher? Don’t. No way – they would already kick him like they did Rubens and replace be ‘truck driver’.

      Now that’s a book I’m going to buy – the one Barrichello told we was going to write about what has going on at Ferrari during his stay there… That will be a best seller and then you’ll see that think done my McLaren in comparison are little tiny bites…

  76. Above all, don’t put a mic in front of Alonso… he is still angry that McLaren didn’t gave in top driver seat in 2007 and but a rookie (Hamilton) by his side and he did finish ahead in the spaniard by one point, even if he loose the title… Ferrari simple get advantage from the internal McLaren fight…

    That guy will say anything against that team. If anybody can’t be trusted it’s that two-faced angry talker…

    He always look that somebody own him something and don’t pay… For some he might be the more complete driver amongst the 20. For me he’s just an ***hole.

  77. This piece by Adam Cooper a speedtv.com sheds some light on the whole story:

    http://formula-one.speedtv.com/article/cooper-extraordinary-circumstances/

  78. Oh come on SYM!!…..is there any situation you could envisage where YOU would think that Hamilton is culpable?

    You and Hughes suffer from the same delusion, that Hamilton is perfect and can do no wrong!!

    I’m not looking to wail on the bloke, he’s under enormous pressure from many areas. He made a mistake and he apologised for it. Good on him!!

    But seriously, if Hamilton broke into your house and butchered your whole family, you’d still steadfastly rise to his defense!!

    There’s nothing wrong with being a fan of Hamilton or anyone else but not to the extent where you’re blind to their actions!!

    Even the most ardent Schumacher fans have no problem admitting that he was guilty of conduct unbecoming an F1 star!

  79. Please God, for once lets just go racing.

  80. bobmarshall
    3rd April 2009, 21:40

    autosport

    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/74214

    “We recognise Lewis’s efforts to set the record straight today,” said an FIA spokesman. “It would appear that he was put in an impossible position.

    1. Lets hope this means the end of this miserable saga

  81. theRoswellite
    3rd April 2009, 22:01

    sorry Matt…..

    I hope we all remember…

    All organizations (McLaren, FIA) are composed of individuals, and individuals can, do and will make mistakes. It is unrealistic to wish this were otherwise, and we should not condemn the entire organization for the missteps of a few.

    It is always best to tell the truth, irregardless of any and all other exigencies.

    Mr. Hamilton, irregardless of this or any other actions by the FIA, will always have this incident within him and as part of his legacy. Self-regret is often the darkest and longest lasting punishment.

    There is certainly a difference between authentic and heartfelt remorse, as I believe we are seeing with Lewis, and the cynical silence often offered up by some former world champions.

    Plus, I long for the days when a driver would refuse any advantage…..not fairly won. Sometimes that seems very long ago.

  82. I think this is a very stupid of Hamilton. It does show the guy is way to honest to be in F1.

    Trulli clearly lied about the incident too. He pretended like he was illegally overtaken by Hamilton during the radio conversation and he claimed he had no option other than in re-passing Hamilton while in reality he could have stayed behind Hamilton.

    Both drivers simply presented their situation most favourably to themselves. The difference is that Trulli knows how to lie and he keeps his lie straight to the press. Hamilton is too honest and tells people the true story right away.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this admission of guilt is going to lead to more exclusions.

    1. There’s a lot of truth in this. There are layers to this episode that are much more murky, including Trulli’s role, but I don’t see that Hamilton has much option than be himself – even if that means being too honest (even about his lying).

      I’ve also got a sick feeling in my stomach that FIA are going to pursue this further. Maybe just paranoia. Maybe.

  83. Even the stewarding is all f*cK%d up as you may say, still it doesn’t justified by lying. I wonder what the the queen’s thought about this, especially now that LH was given MBE. Poor guy… well i guess he deserves it. he might still deserve DQ for this year.

    As for Schumi, he may be proven guilty several times but the reason he still being regarded is because of the feat he achieved (7 times WDC). If lewis have only 1 WDC, I don’t thinl he’ll be remembered as the schumi.

  84. Not good by Lewis. But, I’d like to have seen Schumacher owning up to this after the Monaco disgrace.

    Hope Lewis can bounce back.

  85. His reputation has certainly taken a knock from this, but I think he’ll recover sooner rather than later.

  86. This reminds me of 1991, and that now legendary interview with Aryton Senna inwhich he admitted to delibrately crashing into Alain Prost’s Ferrari to secure the 1990 World Championship.
    At the time, as the dust swirled around the two stricken cars, everybody knew that Senna had hit Prost on purpose.
    It was all put down to a ‘racing incident’, and Aryton kept his title, much to the disgust and dismay of many.
    Then came the admission of guilt a year later from Senna.
    Knowing that his previous title was safe, he launched a full frontal assault against Prost, FIA president
    Balestre, and near enough anybody else he thought or suspected of conspiring against him. Had that happened today, Senna would probably have only had his hands on two world titles at best.
    As others have mentioned, Michael Schumacher was not beyond committing to odd professional foul in order to gain an advantage, all of which are well documented.
    This, however, does not excuse Lewis Hamilton and McLaren for what has happened. After the events of two years ago, you would have thought that the Woking team would have learned their lesson? Obviously they did not.
    To then mislead the officials, fans, and the other teams by witholding valuable information is just plain wrong, and naive.
    Surely McLaren must have known that this mess would come to light, that the radio transmission instructing Hamilton to allow Trulli past existed, and that it could be used as evidence against them.
    This to me shows that McLaren are desperate. They could not believe their luck in Australia, with both
    Ferrari’s out and Hamilton in fourth. They wanted to bag as many points as possible, knowing that their car would show its true colours in later grands prix. They gambled, and they lost.
    As for Hamilton’s reputation as a sportsman, then that has taken a massive hit! He isn’t exactly the most
    popular driver in the paddock amongst his rivals, and I seriously doubt that many will shed a tear.

  87. Wow, what a spotless bunch, with a tone and a half of stones being pelted about! This is racing, dirty, greasy, hot and fabulous. Nasty politics and dirty tricks, just the way we like it, Oh and young skinny women in short skirts! Why do we seem to think our self appointed heros are any less bad or better than we are, it’s a modern fable propagated by the media. If the will to win at any cost were only seen in sports we would not have a Global ‘downturn’ and the bankers would not be seen as a pariah they really are. C’mon some of you guy’s would have done just what Hamilton, Senna, Schumacher, Prost have all done, bent the rules as well as their ethics to win!
    i am just surprised Mclaren were so dumb about it, ‘ no one can see us, we’re invisible’. Some mouths in this comments section should be washed out with borax!
    aja

  88. I think that this incident goes in line with the lie of Hamilton last year in Spa….that he slowed down and did not accelerate in the Kimi Raikkonen incident.So it is not quite the first time that he lied….I think that there are more lies to come.The new British star is Button.Period.

    1. He didn’t say he didn’t accelerate, he said he lifted off, which is considerably different. The videos match up, the telemetry, by all accounts, matches up with that as well.

  89. Doesn’t change my opinion of him. He’s still a very talented and capable driver. A couple of little fibs here and there will never change that fact.

    And come on, lets be real, it’s not like any of us have never told a lie to cover up a mistake or error, or the better a situation we are in.

    If you claim that you have never told a lie in your life, you are probably just lying to yourself, and that’s even worse!

  90. Obviously what Hamilton did was wrong, although in the circumstances and with the preasure of his superior Dave Ryan it´s understandable if not acceptable why he did what he did.

    What is commendable however is the way he has stood infront of the worlds media to apologise for it, something certain other people have failed to do in the past. One of whom I see today making more acusations about others as if he is whiter than white.

    Alonso to this day still claims that what happened in the pits in Hungary a couple of years ago was 100% innocent and the norn in those cercumstances! anyone who has any knowledge of F1 knows it was a blatent and successful attempt to prevent Hamilton from completing a last quick lap. He lied to the stewards about that and has been doing the same ever since.

    I guess it´s hard to defend Hamlton this time round but please dont think that he is the villain in a group of Saints like some would have you believe, coz it´s far from the truth.

  91. lol does my address bar read hamiltonfanatic.co.uk ? xD

    1. What? You can’t read it yourself?

  92. All this talk of McLaren cheating just shows how biased the FIA and press can be. Yes McLaren stuffed up, Yes Lewis may have told a porky (the Stewards have no transcript of the hearing..how convenient) but correct me if i’m wrong weren’t Toyota sent to the back of the grid for attempting to cheat, attempting to get one by the stewards with their flexing rear wing in qualifying, a blatant breach of the rules….but no ruckus was raised, they were allowed to compete, keep their points..not called up before the WMSC….what a crock this “sport” is turning into, No wonder Mclaren are walking on eggshells all the time when dealing with the Stewards so it’s no surprise the guys on the pit wall hesitate when interpreting the rules..they know the FIA are gunna get em one way or another!!

  93. Ferrari 4 ever
    9th April 2009, 21:17

    “Hamilton has already hinted once this year that he may not stay with McLaren for the rest of his career”
    If McLaren doesn’t get somebody to fix the car for the “champion”, he is out to parasite some other real champion. Alonso has been used already, maybe Kubica or Vettel are next?
    At Ferrari? No, thanks.

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