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Page last updated at 09:04 GMT, Tuesday, 10 June 2008 10:04 UK

Crash penalty is harsh - Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton climbs out of his car to face Kimi Raikkonen after crashing into the back of the Ferrari driver in the pit lane in Canada
Hamilton says he will be "stronger" for his Montreal disappointment

McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton believes the 10-place grid penalty he was given for crashing in the pits in Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix is too severe.

The Englishman will be moved back on the grid for the French Grand Prix on 22 June after running into the back of Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari on Sunday.

"I start 10 places back in the next race. It's a bit harsh, I didn't aim to ruin anyone's race," Hamilton said.

He also condemned as "silly" the rule that led to the accident.

Raikkonen and the BMW Sauber of eventual winner Robert Kubica were stopped at a red light at the pit lane exit when Hamilton, who had noticed the light too late, slammed into the back of the Finn.

The light was on as part of F1's safety car rules.

We warned him, but we could have done it earlier

Martin Whitmarsh
McLaren managing director
It is used when the safety car and the F1 field lined up behind it are passing or are about to pass the pit lane exit.

The idea behind the rule is to avoid potential collisions between cars already on the track, and those rejoining.

Hamilton said: "The rule is silly. We are in the race, how can you red light at the end of the pit-lane? But that's the rule and I accept it."

McLaren managing director Martin Whitmarsh added that he felt the penalty was "quite severe".

But Whitmarsh also said that the team had specifically warned Hamilton that there may be a red light at the end of the pit lane, although he did not explicitly blame his driver for the crash.

"Frankly, we gave [the warning] to him, [but] we could have given it to him earlier," he told

"There was quite a lot going on, obviously, as we were fuelling Lewis's car and that of his team-mate Heikki Kovalainen.

Robert Kubica's BMW Sauber passes the stranded cars of Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton on his way to victory in the Canadian Grand Prix
Kubica took the championship lead as a result of Hamilton's error
"When you come in first and come out third I'm sure you're anxious to see if you can jump past those people, and I'm sure that distracted him.

"As Nico [Rosberg] proved seconds later [when he ran into the back of Hamilton's car], it was easy to do."

Hamilton, who lost the championship lead to Kubica as a result of the incident, has insisted he will bounce back as strong as ever in France.

"This will make no difference," he said, speaking to British newspapers.

"It hasn't knocked me confidence-wise. I'm not gutted or disappointed.

"We are baffled how it came to that in the space of 30 seconds.


"I had two guys in front of me and suddenly they have stopped as I have looked at the red light. But you can't win them all. This makes me stronger.

"Going forward, the mood is strong. The fact is, we destroyed everyone [on pace].

"With the car we have right now, there is no stopping us. It is not going to take me a day to recover or anything. I am really looking forward to Magny-Cours."

see also
Raikkonen bemoans Hamilton crash
09 Jun 08 |  Formula One
Kubica wins after Hamilton error
08 Jun 08 |  Formula One
Kubica targets F1 title after win
08 Jun 08 |  Formula One
Coulthard hails poignant podium
08 Jun 08 |  Formula One

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