Former Force India F1 driver Adrian Sutil has hit out at Lewis Hamilton, branding the McLaren man a 'coward' and 'not a man' after he failed to attend the court hearing in which the German was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm.
Sutil was handed an 18-month suspended sentence and fined 200,000 Euros (around £167,000) this week after a Munich court found in favour of Renault's Eric Lux.
The altercation involving the two men occurred in a Shanghai night club last year, in the wake of the Chinese Grand Prix, when Sutil and some friends, including Hamilton, were enjoying a night out to celebrate the Briton's race win. Lux ended up being injured by a champagne flute, following a row over the investor's girlfriend. He was left nursing a neck wound and needed 24 stitches. Although Sutil always maintained the incident was an accident and apologised several times, the matter still went to court.
Hamilton had been called to attend to give evidence, but with McLaren due to launch its new car today, was excused. Instead he sent a letter and said he did not see the incident.
Sutil was not impressed by the lack of support from his 'friend' and has now publicly made his feelings known.
“Lewis is a coward,” Sutil told German tabloid newspaper, Bild
. “I do not want to be friends with someone like that. For me, he is not a man.
“Even his father sent me a text message and wished me luck before the court hearing. Lewis sent nothing and he has even changed his phone number, so that I cannot reach him anymore.”
Meanwhile, Sutil added that he is now 'considering' his future options: “Maybe I will take some time out now,” the 29-year-old added after the two-day trial. “Maybe I will do something completely different, think about things in peace.
“At least I shook Mr Lux's hands [at the end]. That's a good thing,” Sutil concluded.