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Hamilton stripped of third place // Lewis Hamilton loses podium place after controversial Australian incident

Published by Christine

This article was originally written for BellaOnline, but is republished here for posterity.

Rumours began yesterday that Lewis Hamilton was being called back in front of the stewards (only this time in Malaysia) to go over what happened in Australia again. The McLaren driver was promoted to third after it emerged that Jarno Trulli had overtaken him under safety car conditions.

However, the stewards had reviewed the radio evidence between Lewis and his team that suggested the driver was told to allow Trulli past - meaning Jarno was not at fault. Hamilton has been disqualified from the results of the Australian Grand Prix, meaning he and the team lose the six points that they had gained. Trulli has also been reinstated to third, meaning that the other positions do not change (again!).

This incident has been controversial from the outset. Fans are generally never impressed when results are changed post-race, and it seemed that the best thing to do would have been to just switch Hamilton and Trulli's positions round, and everyone would have been happy. Instead, the Toyota driver received a harsh penalty that under normal circumstances might have knocked him down a couple of places, but under the slow safety car conditions, cost him nine positions. Toyota lodged an intent to appeal immediately the penalty was given, but they were told you can't appeal a time penalty of this matter. The team were going to take it further but eventually decided against it.

It turns out they had no need to in this case, as it seems that Hamilton and McLaren haven't been entirely truthful with the stewards. An interview given by Lewis almost immediately stepped out the car suggested he had been told to give the place back to Trulli but by the time they got to the stewards office, this piece of information was omitted. The FIA insist they asked Hamilton outright twice whether he was told to give the place back and he said no.

This may not be the end of the situation, either. Although the Australian Grand Prix results should be left alone for now, the fact that McLaren haven't been truthful with the stewards will surely not go without further sanction.