15 April 2011
Hamilton accepts penalty, but insists not at fault
Lewis Hamilton has accepted the 20-second penalty he received in Malaysia, but insists that he was not guilty of defending too hard.
Lewis Hamilton remains adamant that, in his opinion, he should not have been penalised for the incident with Fernando Alonso in Malaysia, even though he has accepted the loss of seventh place.
The Briton appeared to survive the clash with his former McLaren nemesis, which saw Alonso have to pit for a new front wing, but then had to pit for another set of tyres before the chequered flag, dropping to seventh on the road, ironically behind the Ferrari. That then became eighth when a 20-second penalty was applied to his race time for 'weaving', after the stewards adjudged that Hamilton had changeed direction on more than than allowed one occasion.
Alonso also received a penalty for the contact with the rear of the McLaren, but did not lose his eventual sixth place, while Kamui Kobayashi benefited by moving into Hamilton's seventh place. The Briton, who again appeared to have the pace to challenge Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel after pushing the German close in qualifying, arrived in China for this week's third round resigned to the fact that he had been docked a couple of points, but insisting that he did not feel that he had done much wrong.
"You leave the track and you think about it for a while, but then you put it behind you," he told the official F1 website, "You get on the plane and probably still think about the different scenarios, but then you fall asleep and, when you wake up, it's over. You get on with your race preparation and training.
"There was not much to say. I don't think that I was over-defending my position. I am a racer and people want to see racing. I would not put myself or anyone else in danger in a million years. I think that I've always raced with my heart and made pretty smart decisions when it comes to racing and defending.
"When you are defending you have to make your car as wide as possible. The rules says that you're not allowed to make more than one manoeuvre to defend. So I don't see why they said that I was defending too much because on the straight [Alonso] ten or 15 metres behind me. I was not defending at that stage.
"But it is how you interpret the rules and you can't do anything about it. Twenty seconds was not too bad. I lost one place, but I was already so far back that it didn't make a huge difference to me. I think I lost two points. Of course, two points could be a deciding factor at the end of the year, but I hope I can make them up as well."
Despite accepting the McLaren was still second best to Red Bull in Malaysia, Hamilton says that he will be heading to China looking to come out on top and halt Vettel's winning run, which stretches back into his successful championship assault in late 2010. Races on successive weekends, he says, will be the best way to get over the frustration of Sepang.
"When you have your head completely clear again, you move forward," he explained, "I want to win. I love these back-to-back races when you didn't have such a good first one, as you immediately have the chance to make a change within a week. I definitely want to make a change.
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