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Page last updated at 17:57 GMT, Thursday, 11 September 2008 18:57 UK

Hamilton puts Spa saga behind him

Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton is focusing on extending his championship lead in Monza

Lewis Hamilton says he will not allow last Sunday's dramatic events in Spa to distract him at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza this weekend.

The McLaren driver was stripped of his Belgian GP win for cutting a chicane and the team are taking their case to the International Court of Appeal.

But Hamilton said: "I don't feel at all disheartened by what happened.

"I don't feel that there's a need for revenge. We want to win on the track. Winning in court is not what we want."

Hamilton had clinched a thrilling victory in Spa passing Ferrari rival Kimi Raikkonen, who later crashed out, as rain began to fall in the closing laps.

But the Englishman was handed a 25-second penalty that saw him drop to third and Ferrari's Felipe Massa promoted to race winner.

Officials judged Hamilton had gained an advantage by cutting the Bus Stop chicane in his battle with Raikkonen, but McLaren have lodged an appeal on the grounds that Hamilton immediately ceded the position back to the Finn.

The hearing will be heard by the court of appeal of Formula One's governing body, the FIA, before the end of the month.

606: DEBATE
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With judicial proceedings under way, Hamilton had to watch his words but did say: "Everyone in the team thinks we've won the race on moral grounds.

"We just have to try our best to stay squeaky clean, stay out of trouble for the rest of the season, and not let them have any opportunity to put us in that position."

As well as examining whether Hamilton surrendered any advantage he gained by cutting the chicane when he let Raikkonen past him on the pit straight, the court may also examine the manoeuvre at the chicane.

Hamilton himself discounted suggestions that a lack of grip forced Raikkonen to brake earlier going into the chicane, causing the McLaren driver to veer off the track.

"We had the same amount of grip," said Hamilton. "That's the way he drives.

"If you don't have the balls to brake late, that's your problem.

"At the end of the day, in those situations, it's the driver who can feel the grip more, and put the car more on the edge.

we're coming here for a great win to beat them on home turf like last year

Lewis Hamilton
"I'm great in those conditions, and I felt the grip more than he did. I knew where to place my car, I placed it in a different position to him and I found the grip."

For now, the 23-year-old is determined to put the appeal to the back of his mind and focus on the looming battle with Ferrari in Monza.

Hamilton arrives at the Italian marque's home race two points ahead of Massa in the drivers standings but believes McLaren have the upper hand going into the weekend.

"I hope what has happened does not have an effect, and I plan to make sure it has no effect on the championship," insisted Hamilton.

"I still have a two-point lead and we will continue to attack and perform like we did in the last two races. If anything we can use this [the Spa incident] as our fuel to keep pushing.

"Massa is on his back foot. He has to work damn hard to keep up with me.

"We do have a close battle but I'm in a very strong position. I have a great car and we will continue to take points from them.

"I feel like I'm coming away from a win and moving on to the next race.

"We're having a great season battling the Ferraris and it's a real pleasure. But I think we're coming here for a great win to beat them on home turf like last year."


see also
Hamilton finds little support
11 Sep 08 |  Formula One
McLaren lodge Belgian GP appeal
10 Sep 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton passed too soon - Massa
09 Sep 08 |  Formula One
Lauda unhappy with Hamilton penalty
08 Sep 08 |  Motorsport
Hamilton stripped of Belgian win
07 Sep 08 |  Formula One
Belgian Grand Prix photos
07 Sep 08 |  Formula One


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