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Hamilton: We all have to race by the same rules...

In response to claims from former team-mate Fernando Alonso and his Ferrari team of unfair treatment in last weekend's European Grand Prix in Valencia, Lewis Hamilton contends that if anyone was unfairly penalised, it was him...
Lewis Hamilton has responded to Ferrari and Fernando Alonso's accusations of ill-treatment during last weekend's European Grand Prix by insisting that the rules are the same for everyone and 'we all have to accept them' – and if anyone was unfairly victimised, he suggests, it was him.

Hamilton received a drive-through penalty in Valencia for illegally overtaking the safety car – a marginal judgement, but one that subsequent slow-motion footage proved to be the correct one – but afterwards Alonso complained vociferously about what he viewed as the comparative leniency of the punishment given the infraction committed, and the length of time that it took the stewards to reach their decision, with the upshot being that having himself remained dutifully behind the safety car as per the letter of the regulations, he was actually inadvertently penalised far more than his former team-mate [see separate story – click here].

Despite the Spaniard's protests, however, the McLaren-Mercedes star remains unrepentant and insistent that his second place at the chequered flag was entirely merited. Alonso wound up eighth.

“I don't remember too much about it, to be honest,” Hamilton reflected. “When I came down the straight, I was accelerating; I didn't see the safety car coming out and then as I came round Turn One, literally as I got to the safety car line all of a sudden I saw the safety car coming out and pretty much alongside me, so I backed off and went across the line as it did that.

“I was able to push until safety car line two, I think – between the two lines you can go fast – and at that point I thought I had passed the safety car. He was already behind, so I continued. I haven't watched the race, but as far as I was concerned, I had passed the safety car line one so I thought I was okay – at least that's how I saw it. Whenever a safety car comes out, it's difficult to compute all the information. There are all these beeps in your ear, and lights flashing on your dashboard too, so it's all a bit complicated.

“When the team told me I had a drive-through penalty, I made time by pushing as hard as I could, and was able to increase the gap a bit to the guys behind – I think my general pace was quite a bit better than a lot of the people behind me. We were competitive from the beginning. I took my penalty – it's quite a long time to spend at 60km/h in the pit-lane – and I came out second. I don't see how that's unfair – it's racing, those are the rules and we all have to accept them.”

Despite a touch with pole-sitter and eventual race-winner Sebastian Vettel shortly after the starting lights had gone out that left him with a damaged front wing until his pit-stop and a minor vibration for the remainder of the grand prix, Hamilton concentrated on 'looking after the car' early on as he and his Red Bull Racing adversary indulged in a high-speed game of cat-and-mouse at the front of the field.

Following repairs during his stop under the safety car, the Briton acknowledged that 'my pace was much stronger', even if he had scant hope of passing his quarry around a circuit whose characteristics mean overtaking is very much at a premium, leading him ultimately to resolve not to risk any 'silly gambles' but rather focus on 'bringing the car home in one piece'. And to do that and still retain the runner-up position – and the advantage in the title chase heading to his home outing at Silverstone in a week-and-a-half's time – is encouraging indeed, he affirmed.

“I think it is just very, very positive to be leading both championships for myself and Jenson and also for the team,” the 25-year-old concluded. “We've been working so hard all year, and I think the result clearly shows the effort that we have been putting in. It is great that we are now getting the results that we deserve, but it is going to be interesting going to Silverstone. Hopefully we will be able to close the gap to the Red Bulls and really challenge them.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F10
Saturday Practice, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F10
Saturday Practice, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F10
Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB6 race winner, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 2nd position and Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 3rd position
Friday Practice1, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Qualifying, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Qualifying, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Friday Practice 2, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 2nd position
Lewis Hamilton and The Stig
Sebastien Ogier, Red Bull, RB7, F1 test [Credit: Red Bull Content Pool]
Singapore Grand Prix
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H

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June 29, 2010 9:05 PM

The safety car thing is so simple here in the States. Wreck happens, yellow comes out, cars slow down, safety car picks up THE LEADER OF THE RACE (not who ever happens to not make it across some line before it enters the circuit), and everyone lines up behind the leader in order.

California Kid - Unregistered

June 29, 2010 8:32 PM

This is true, but what irks me the most is the implementation of said rules and the rules themselves. Why can't they get a safety car situation right? PLEASE look at the US races and how they handle the safety cars/pace cars whatever. NEVER and issue here. It's true you followed the directions of race control to the letter and did your job Lewis, you followed it to the letter. Hats off for doin what was needed to be done. Hmm I guess a Ferrari fan won't die if he compliments Hamilton as I'm still alive.... I should write a book about my experiences on this.

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