The prospect of the closest F1 season in memory ending in recriminations and derision disappeared this evening when race stewards in Brazil decided not to punish BMW and Williams for rule-breaking over fuel temperatures.
The two teams were put on the spot when both BMW Sauber cars, and the Williams of Nico Rosberg, failed post-race scrutineering because of the temperature of fuel samples taken during pit stops.
FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer said the samples were all cooler than the 10 degrees centigrade margin allowed compared with ambient temperature. Cooler fuel is denser, allowing a car to be refuelled more quickly – or more fully – and it offers a slight performance advantage for a few laps.
The three drivers finished fourth, fifth and sixth in Brazil, ahead of Hamilton. Sanctions against them could have propelled him up the race leader board and given him the points he needed to beat Raikkonen to the title.
But mercifully for the credibility of the sport, the stewards decided to impose no punishment and confirmed the Finn’s victory in the race – and in the world championship.