Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Lewis Facing Points Loss in Aussie Probe; Fresh Evidence over the Briton's Role in Penalty for Rival in Melbourne Could Lead to Him Being Demoted. by David Smith

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Lewis Facing Points Loss in Aussie Probe; Fresh Evidence over the Briton's Role in Penalty for Rival in Melbourne Could Lead to Him Being Demoted. by David Smith

Article excerpt

LEWIS HAMILTON was today facing the loss of his third place in the Australian Grand Prix and, possibly all the points he won in Melbourne.

In a sensational development ahead of Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix, Hamilton and Jarno Trulli were ordered to appear before a special meeting of Formula One stewards after new evidence was uncovered including radio transmissions between the Briton and his McLaren team.

The probe centres on the incident at the climax to the season's opening race when Trulli's Toyota was ruled to have illegally overtaken the McLaren of Hamilton for third place while the safety car was deployed ahead of the Brawn GPs of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello.

Just before that manoeuvre, Trulli had careered off the track and onto the grass. That left Hamilton, right behind in fourth as the pack trailed the safety car, with no choice but to pass and move into third. That move was deemed legal because Trulli had clearly lost control.

It is what happened next that has become the subject of a new inquiry.

Following the race, Hamilton is understood to have told stewards that after Trulli had left the track he had momentarily moved off the racing line because he was distracted by a reading on the screen in his McLaren cockpit.

It was then that Trulli retook third place. The Italian subsequently claimed that Hamilton (below) had slowed down so much he believed the British driver had a mechanical problem leaving him with no option but to overtake.

Stewards in Australia dismissed this explanation and hit Trulli with a 25-second time penalty, dropping him to 12th and promoting Hamilton to third. Toyota lodged a protest, but subsequently withdrew it as they could find no evidence to support Trulli's claims.

It is believed that evidence has now been found in the form of previously unheard radio transmissions between Hamilton and his McLaren pit crew, and in the transcript of an interview Hamilton gave to SpeedTV. …

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