Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Motor Racing: Hamilton May Be in Hot Water for Part in Red Bull Crash

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Motor Racing: Hamilton May Be in Hot Water for Part in Red Bull Crash

Article excerpt


LEWIS Hamilton learns tomorrow if his bid to win the world championship will suffer a serious blow after it was confirmed the McLaren driver is under investigation for his role in the crash that forced Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel out of the Japanese Grand Prix, writes NICK BRIGGS.

Third-placed Vettel drove his Toro Rosso into the back of Webber's Red Bull, which was running second behind Hamilton, on lap 45 of last weekend's 67-lap race when the field was lined up behind a safety car deployed due to Fernando Alonso's crash three laps earlier.

Although the incident was missed by the television cameras, it is believed new evidence, thought to be footage on YouTube filmed from the grandstand at the Fuji Speedway, shows Hamilton pulling over to the right-hand side of the track and decelerating considerably prior to the collision, in turn forcing Webber to slow down and thus catching Vettel una wares.

If found guilty, Hamilton could lose the 10 championship points he earned for his victory in Japan, which would reduce his lead over nearest rival Alonso to just two points with two races to go. But given the fact Vettel was handed a 10-place grid penalty for this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix for his part in the incident, a similar punishment would seem more likely for the Brit.

An FIA official said: "We understand the stewards of the meeting have received new evidence and are looking into the relevant matter. It would be inappropriate for us to comment any further at this stage, in particular as to what penalty, if any, might be imposed."

F1 regulations state the leader must keep within five car lengths of the safety car, while erratic driving can also be punished. Article 40.10 of the F1 Sporting Regulations reads: "The safety car shall be used at least until the leader is behind it and all remaining cars are lined up behind him. Once behind the safety car, the race leader must keep within five car lengths of it."

It is thought Hamilton has already met a three-man panel of stewards at the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, who are believed to be deliberating on what action to take over the incident. …

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