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Last Updated: Friday, 5 October 2007, 09:41 GMT 10:41 UK
Hamilton awaits Japan GP ruling
Lewis Hamilton driving behind the safety car
The safety car was deployed twice at a rain-drenched Fuji
Formula One officials are set to reveal if they are going to punish Lewis Hamilton after complaints he drove erratically at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Red Bull's Mark Webber has accused the Englishman of doing a "bad job" behind the safety car after being knocked out of the race while following Hamilton.

Hamilton's victory at Fuji gave him a 12-point lead and put him on the verge of winning the world championship.

If he is found guilty on Friday, he may have his 10 points from Japan erased.

BBC 5live commentator David Croft, who is at the Chinese Grand Prix for this weekend's race, says there are also suggestions that Hamilton may be penalised 10 places on the grid in Shanghai.

Part of me wonders whether he showed a little bit of naivety, while part of me wonders whether he had a few tricks up his sleeve. I'd say it was probably a bit of both

Mark Webber on Lewis Hamilton

And McLaren boss Ron Dennis said on Friday that his team have yet to receive any formal contact from race stewards.

"At the Japanese Grand Prix, after Lewis had left the circuit, the stewards wished Lewis to see some of the footage related to the race.

"We called him at the hotel and by the time we located him, the stewards advised him they didn't need to see him and we have thus far not received any formal communication from the stewards they wish to see him again," added Dennis.

Webber was knocked out of the race by Toro Rosso's Sebastian Vettel while they were following Hamilton, and the Australian believes Hamilton braked excessively while they were following the safety car on lap 45.

Webber almost overtook Hamilton as the McLaren driver slowed and moved to the right while following the safety car before an unsighted Vettel hit the Red Bull.

606 DEBATE
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The evidence is believed to be footage filmed from the grandstands at Fuji which appeared on video website YouTube.

Webber told BBC 5live: "Lewis did a great job in the race and deserved to win, but I'm not sure he did such a great job behind the safety car.

"Part of me wonders whether he showed a little bit of naivety, while part of me wonders whether he had a few tricks up his sleeve. I'd say it was probably a bit of both.

"I can understand a few tricks when the lights are off, but when the lights are on it means we're going nowhere behind the safety car.

"In dry conditions my Mum can follow Lewis behind the safety car - it's nothing special. The job of the guy who is leading behind the safety to car is to follow the safety car - and when you don't do that it causes problems."

Sebastien Vettel's Toro Rosso (left) collides with Mark Webber's Red Bull
Webber (right) was in second place when the accident happened

Hamilton's main championship rival and McLaren team-mate, Fernando Alonso backs Webber's claims.

Alonso crashed out of the race on lap 41 prompting the reintroduction of the safety car which ultimately led to the controversial incident involving Webber and Vettel.

The Spaniard, who was behind Hamilton for the opening 19 laps of the race under the safety car, said: "I also overtook Lewis two or three times, so it seems that we all agree.

"It's difficult to know what the car in front of you needs to do.

"I didn't see the race on TV but, hearing the comments of the drivers, they seemed to overtake the car in front a couple of times and had to make some unnecessary manoeuvres to avoid the cars in front."

If Hamilton does have his 10 points from Japan wiped out, Alonso will be only two points adrift in the race for the title and he says he has not given up hope of winning a third consecutive championship.

"I believe in miracles for sure," he continued.

"I think anything can happen - this is Formula One - until mathematically you have no chance in the championship, you don't give up.

"F1 is unpredictable sometimes and we have seen it many times, especially in wet races - if maybe it is raining again on Sunday then anything can happen."

German driver Vettel echoed Webber's comments in criticising Hamilton.

"It was my fault, but it is clear the rhythm was not there," he said. "We are all sitting in the same boat. At the point [of the crash) I was distracted, looking to the right.

"I was sure Hamilton was retiring, he seemed to have no power any longer, but by the time I looked back, I was already in Mark's rear end."

However, British motorsport great Sir Stirling Moss said to blame Hamilton for Webber and Vettel's crash was "absolutely ridiculous".

He told BBC 5live: "I think they feel it will better to take the championship to the last race. It could be a real blow for Hamilton."

F1 regulations state: "The safety car shall be used at least until the leader is behind it and all remaining cars are lined up behind him.

"Once behind the safety car, the race leader must keep within five car lengths of it."



SEE ALSO
China holds no fears for Hamilton
03 Oct 07 |  Formula One
Hamilton 'deserves to win title'
01 Oct 07 |  Formula One
Hamilton moves to brink of title
30 Sep 07 |  Formula One
Hamilton senses F1 title is close
30 Sep 07 |  Formula One
Japanese Grand Prix as it happened
30 Sep 07 |  Formula One


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