F1’s Hamilton stripped of 3rd place at Australian GP

  • By Chris Lines Associated Press
  • Thursday, April 2, 2009 9:20am
  • SportsSports

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia— Defending Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton was disqualified from the Australian Grand Prix on Thursday for giving misleading evidence to race stewards.

The McLaren driver was awarded third place after the season-opening race in Melbourne last weekend when stewards ruled Toyota’s Jarno Trulli breached regulations by passing Hamilton during a safety car period.

Trulli was reinstated to his original third-place finish, while Hamilton and McLaren were excluded from the results and receive no points.

A new hearing into the matter, convened by governing body FIA, interviewed both drivers and teams. New evidence was heard, including radio transmissions between teams and drivers in Melbourne and media interviews given by Hamilton, which contradicted his evidence to stewards.

After deliberating for several hours, FIA released a statement that said Hamilton and McLaren “acted in a manner prejudicial to the conduct of the event by providing evidence deliberately misleading to the stewards.”

“We’re disappointed by what’s happened, but in the circumstances, we aren’t going to appeal,” McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said. “I believe it was a harsh decision. Experience has told us you’ve got to accept these decisions.

“These things come along, and you have to build on your concentration for this weekend and the races to come.”

In the safety car period, caused by a late crash, Trulli was in third place when he briefly ran off the track. While passing is prohibited during safety car periods, a driver can move up if a car ahead goes off the circuit.

McLaren, having not seen Trulli run off, was told over the radio by Hamilton that he had passed the Toyota driver. The team tried to get clarification from race control about whether Hamilton could remain in third. When that clarification was not forthcoming, McLaren told Hamilton to give back third place, which he did.

In the post-race stewards hearing, Hamilton and McLaren both denied the world champion had been advised by his team to cede third spot back to Trulli. However, the radio communications, and an interview Hamilton gave after the race, both indicated he had received such advice.

“The stewards, having learned about the radio exchanges and the media interview, feel strongly that they had been misled by the driver and his team manager, which led to Jarno Trulli being unfairly penalized and Lewis Hamilton gaining third place,” stewards said Thursday.

Without the radio and interview evidence, stewards in Melbourne ruled that Trulli should not have taken back third, and penalized him 25 seconds, dropping him from third to 12th.

McLaren claimed Thursday they thought race authorities already knew the content of the radio transmission, which can be heard by authorities during the race.

Whitmarsh denied that the stewards’ ruling amounted to an allegation that McLaren and Hamilton lied to the Melbourne hearing, saying only that the team erred by not being more forthcoming about the radio communication between team and driver.

“There’s no indication that Lewis lied,” Whitmarsh said. “There was no lie within that hearing. We the team made a mistake, that we didn’t supply a full account of a radio conversation we believe was being listened to in any case and we don’t believe was material to the decision being made by the stewards.”

Trulli’s reinstatement to third gives him six points and puts Toyota second in the constructors’ championship with 11 points. Teammate Timo Glock finished fourth.

“I didn’t break the rules,” Trulli said. “It was just a question of making sure they could see it and understand it.

“It’s good that they reconsidered it. It shows they really understand there was something they missed and can reconsider with more evidence,” Trulli added. “Immediately after the race, it was probably a bit chaotic for them.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Stanwood players react to their coach bringing them the Stilly Cup on Sept. 30, 2022 in Arlington. The Spartans snapped a 12-game losing streak in the rivalry matchup last year. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
4 games to watch in Week 5 of the prep football season

An in-depth look at the best games the area has to offer, plus a full schedule of the local action in Week 5.

Stanwood's Michael Mascotti relays the next play to his teammates during football practice on Monday, Aug. 29, 2022 in Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Game picks for Week 5 of the prep football season

Find out which teams the experts and readers pick to win in Week 5.

Everett's Max Soterakopoulos points to his name on the leaderboard after winning his division the Regional Qualifier for Drive, Chip and Putt, held last Saturday at Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place. (Photo coutesy of Chris Soterakopoulos)
Community roundup: Everett youth golfer headed to The Masters

Plus, Mill Creek Country Club’s Val Patrick honored by LPGA, updates on local NFL players, and more.

Angel of the Winds Arena stands ready and waiting Friday afternoon for Kraken fans to arrive for the preseason game against the Edmondton Oilers. (Jake Goldstein-Street / The Herald)
Patterson: After past fails, can arena football thrive in Everett?

The turbulent past of arena football in the city stems from the opening of the Everett Events Center, now Angel of the Winds Arena, in 2003.

Hall of Fame inductee Gina Carbonatto accepts her award during the 2023 Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame Banquet on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
GALLERY: 2023 Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame banquet

A look at Wednesday’s ceremony honoring some of the most decorated sports figures in the area.

Sultan’s Derek Feltner tries to stay upright after picking up an offensive fumble and getting a few yards against Granite Falls on Friday, Sep. 30, 2022, at Sultan High School in Sultan, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Week 5 prep football leaderboard

A look at the area’s top passers, rushers and receivers through four weeks of the season.

Prep roundup for Wednesday, Sept. 27

Prep roundup for Wednesday, Sept. 27: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Lake Stevens’ Jayshon Limar (17) moves with the ball during a football game between Lake Stevens and West Linn at Lake Stevens High School in Lake Stevens, Washington on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023. West Linn won, 49-30. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Associated Press high school football poll for Week 5

Lake Stevens falls from No. 1 in Class 4A; Arlington jumps to No. 6 in 3A.

Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for Sept. 18-24

The Athlete of the Week nominees for Sept. 18-24. Voting closes at… Continue reading

Most Read