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Page last updated at 16:26 GMT, Thursday, 2 April 2009 17:26 UK

Hamilton loses Aussie GP points

Lewis Hamilton

Report - Hamilton's Australia GP woe

Lewis Hamilton and McLaren have been stripped of their podium finish and all points at the Australian Grand Prix.

The sport's world governing body, the FIA, said they were excluded "for providing evidence deliberately misleading to the stewards".

A post-race hearing promoted Hamilton from fourth to third after Jarno Trulli was penalised for passing Hamilton while the safety car was out.

Trulli and Toyota have been reinstated to third, and McLaren will not appeal.

Hamilton was summoned by stewards on Thursday, ahead of this weekend's Malaysian GP, to discuss what the FIA described as "a new element" of evidence.

That "new element" included radio exchanges between Hamilton and his team as well as a post-race interview given by the world champion.

"The stewards, having learned about the radio exchanges and the media interview, felt strongly that they had been misled by the driver and his team manager," said an FIA statement.

An FIA spokesman said it "could not rule out at this stage" further action against McLaren.

Hamilton left the Sepang International Circuit without commenting on the decision.

Trulli was initially handed a 25-second penalty for the incident, which saw him demoted to 12th.

"We are disappointed by what has happened but in the circumstances we are not going to appeal," said McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh, before the FIA's summary of considerations was released.

He added: "There is no implication that Lewis lied to the stewards.

"As I understand there is a belief that the team was not explicit enough in the content of the radio communications to the stewards.

"What they believe is that the omission of the information about the radio communication between the team was withheld and that is misleading.

"I believe it was a harsh decision. Lewis made a legitimate pass and then was repassed - at the time the team asked race control several times about the repass but they were too busy to answer that question so we felt the decision in the immediate aftermath was fair.

"I think it's a regrettable day. It certainly wasn't a deliberate attempt (to mislead the stewards)."

F1 MOLE

McLaren have had little leeway in terms of receiving the benefit of the doubt from the FIA since the 2007 'spygate' row.

That saw the team stripped of their constructors' points and fined £50m after being caught in possession of sensitive Ferrari technical data.

In Melbourne on Sunday, the safety car came out after a late collision between Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and Robert Kubica in his BMW Sauber.

Trulli slid off the track and was passed by Hamilton but the Toyota driver, who has welcomed the decision, said he had little choice but to overtake the Briton again.

"I am happy because I wanted some justice and I got it," said Trulli.

"I am happy for myself and the team and I have to thank the FIA because it does not happen very often they reconsider something.

"It must have been really hard for them, but they had common sense to really try and understand what was going on. I have always been honest and it has paid off.

"It was a controversial end of the race and it was hard for anyone to understand, but I never lied. I was honest in my statement and I never changed it."

BBC commentator and former F1 driver Martin Brundle said: "This does not look good for Hamilton or McLaren.

"Hamilton passed Trulli as he was off the road. Hamilton clearly wondered then, to give him the benefit of the doubt, if he had passed under the safety car conditions and was trying to let Trulli back through.

"There was a point when he was doing just 15mph in his McLaren and Trulli had no option but to repass him.

"I think Lewis then saw half a chance of a third place instead of a fourth, went up to the stewards and didn't give them the full story.

"Now they've matched up his comments (to them) to radio content between him and the team, and other information they've gathered, and they've decided that effectively he was telling fibs.

"I think it's a big issue and it's not going to go away. If they were asked a direct question they should have given the right answer, and they clearly didn't."



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see also
I am not a liar, insists Hamilton
03 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Toyota accept Trulli time penalty
01 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Hamilton 'very happy' with result
29 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
Button seals dream Australia win
29 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
More to come from Brawn - Button
30 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
Toyotas excluded from qualifying
28 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
Australian Grand Prix photos
29 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
Toyota
04 Nov 09 |  Drivers & Teams
Jarno Trulli
04 Mar 09 |  Drivers & Teams
F1 'spygate' Q&A
12 Sep 07 |  Formula 1


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