Posted : 03/04/2009
PRESS RELEASE: Penalty Imposed On Driver No. 1 Lewis Hamilton And Competitor Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
At the first hearing following the Australian Grand Prix, the Stewards did not have the benefit of the radio exchanges between driver No. 1 Lewis Hamilton and his Team Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, nor did they have access to the comments to the Media given by Lewis Hamilton immediately after the end of the race.
From the video recordings available to the Stewards during the hearing, it appeared that Jarno Trulli’s car left the track and car No. 1 moved into third place. It then appeared that Trulli overtook Hamilton to regain third place, which at the time was prohibited as it was during the Safety Car period.
During the hearing, held approximately one hour after the end of the race, the Stewards and the Race Director questioned Lewis Hamilton and his Team Manager David Ryan specifically about whether there had been an instruction given to Hamilton to allow Trulli to overtake. Both the driver and the Team Manager stated that no such instruction had been given. The Race Director specifically asked Hamilton whether he had consciously allowed Trulli to overtake. Hamilton insisted that he had not done so.
The new elements presented to the Stewards several days after the 2009 Australian Grand Prix which led to the reconvened Stewards Meeting clearly show that:
a. Immediately after the race and before Lewis Hamilton attended the Stewards Meeting, he gave an interview to the Media where he clearly stated that the Team had told him to let Trulli pass.
b. Furthermore, the radio exchanges between the driver and the Team contain two explicit orders from the Team to let the Toyota pass.
The Stewards, having learned about the radio exchanges and the Media interview, felt strongly that they had been misled by the driver and his Team Manager which led to Jarno Trulli being unfairly penalised and Lewis Hamilton gaining third place.
The FIA has published the radio communication between reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton and his McLaren-Mercedes team that led to the British star being disqualified from third place in last weekend's 2009 curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
McLaren: OK Lewis, you should need to make sure your delta is positive over the safety car line. After the safety car line the delta doesn't matter, but no overtaking. No overtaking.
Lewis Hamilton: The Toyota went off in a line at the second corner...is this OK?
McLaren: Understood, Lewis. We'll confirm and get back to you.
LH: He was off the track. He went wide.
McLaren: Lewis, you need to allow the Toyota through. Allow the Toyota through now.
LH: He's slowed right down in front of me.
McLaren: OK, Lewis. Stay ahead for the time being. Stay ahead. We will get back to you. We are talking to Charlie [Whiting – FIA race director].
LH: I let him past already.
McLaren: OK, Lewis. That's fine. That's fine. Hold position. Hold position.
LH: Tell Charlie I already overtook him. I just let him past.
McLaren: I understand Lewis. We are checking. Now can we go to yellow G 5, yellow Golf 5.
LH: I don't have to let him past. I should be able to take that position back, if he made a mistake.
McLaren: Yes, we understand Lewis. Let's just do it by the book. We are asking Charlie now. You are in P4 if you hold this position. Just keep it together.
McLaren: OK Lewis, your KERS is full, your KERS is full. Just be aware. You can go back to black F2, black Foxtrott 2.
LH: Any news from Charlie whether I can take it back or not?
McLaren: Still waiting on a response Lewis, still waiting.
McLaren: Lewis, work on your brakes please. Front brakes are cold.
McLaren: If we are able to use one KERS that would be good. If you deploy KERS please do so now.
McLaren: OK, Lewis, this is the last lap of the race. At the end of the lap the safety car will come in; you just proceed over the line without overtaking, without overtaking. We are looking into the Trulli thing, but just hold position.