Jarno Trulli has claimed that justice has been done after the FIA re-instated him in third place in the 2009 curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne four days ago – insisting that honesty in the end was the best policy.
The experienced Italian – the architect of a superb drive to climb all the way through the field from a pit-lane start following Toyota's qualifying exclusion to the bottom step of the rostrum Down Under – was initially penalised 25 seconds and demoted from third place to twelfth in the season-opener for having re-passed Lewis Hamilton under the late-race safety car period.
Having been ahead of the McLaren-Mercedes on the track, Trulli found himself wrong-footed by debris from the Sebastian Vettel/Robert Kubica collision and skated briefly off-piste, with Hamilton consequently going past. When the reigning Formula 1 World Champion subsequently slowed suddenly, however, Trulli believed he had a problem and retook the position – only to see himself hauled up before the stewards after the podium celebrations had taken place.
The 34-year-old has repeatedly protested his innocence over the matter, and now – following new evidence that came to light, in the form of pits-to-car radio communication that proved McLaren had
instructed Hamilton to let Trulli back past, contradicting what both the Briton and the Woking-based outfit's team manager Dave Ryan had told Albert Park stewards – the penalty has been reversed, with the Pescara native regaining third spot and his Stevenage rival being disqualified from the race results...with possibly worse to follow [see separate story – click here
“I am happy because I wanted some justice and I got it,” Trulli is quoted as having said by international news agency Reuters
. “I am happy for myself and the team, and I have to thank the FIA because it does not happen very often that they reconsider something.
“It must have been really hard for them, but they had the 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.”