McLaren has formally announced its intention to appeal against Lewis Hamilton’s demotion from first to third in the Belgian Grand Prix and has published the statement it has lodged with the FIA.
In it Lewis Hamilton states that he had to cut the La Source chicane in order to prevent an accident, that he lifted off to allow Kimi Raikkonen to regain the lead before his team radioed him to ask him to do so and that he was 6.7km slower than his Ferrari opponent when crossing the circuit’s start-finish line.
McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh adds that checks made by the team with race control suggested that the necessary action to avoid a penalty had been taken.
Here it is in full:
2008 Belgian Grand Prix
9th September 2008
Martin Whitmarsh said: “Following our decision to register our intention to appeal the penalty handed out to Lewis Hamilton by the FIA Stewards at the 2008 Belgian Grand Prix, we hereby confirm that we have now lodged notice of appeal. Lewis describes the incident as follows.”
Lewis Hamilton said: “In the closing stages of the race I was catching Kimi consistently, lap by lap, and with three laps remaining I got close enough to attempt to overtake him on the entry to the last chicane. I managed to get slightly ahead of him in the braking area for the first apex of the chicane. He fought back approaching the second apex – but, in doing so, he left no room for me on the inside line. The only way for me to avoid a collision was therefore to cut inside the second apex.
“I came out of the second apex in front of Kimi and so I momentarily lifted-off on the straight, to ensure that Kimi got back in front. The team also came on the radio and instructed me to allow Kimi to repass, which I had already done. As a result, Kimi crossed the start/finish line ahead of me and 6.7km/h quicker than me.
“After allowing Kimi to completely repass, I crossed from the left side of the track to the right side of the track, passing behind Kimi in the process. I then attacked Kimi on the inside of the first corner, and successfully outbraked him.”
Martin Whitmarsh added: “From the pit wall, we then asked Race Control to confirm that they were comfortable that Lewis had allowed Kimi to repass, and they confirmed twice that they believed that the position had been given back in a manner that was ‘okay’.
“If Race Control had instead expressed any concern regarding Lewis’s actions at that time, we would have instructed Lewis to allow Kimi to repass for a second time.”