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Hamilton at appeal court today.

Lewis Hamilton will know tonight whether or not he stands to regain the Belgian Grand Prix victory that was taken away from him in controversial fashion earlier this month, as the FIA Court of Appeal convenes in Paris.

Although the official verdict is not expected to be released until Tuesday afternoon, the Briton will know today [Monday] whether or not the court will even bother to hear his McLaren team's plea that the retrospective 25-second time penalty that dropped him to third place was too harsh.

Hamilton stands accused of having gained an advantage in his battle with race leader Kimi Raikkonen by cutting the final chicane and then overtaking the Finn at the next corner - despite lifting off to allow Raikkonen back ahead on the intervening straight and apparently having that effort confirmed by race director Charlie Whiting..

Hamilton's critics, including the stewards on the day, claim that his attempt to hand the advantage back to the world champion was insufficient to counteract that momentum he had gained from missing the chicane - evasive action the McLaren team claims was unavoidable after Raikkonen forced the Briton off-line. The officials have since attempted to clarify the situation by addressing the drivers' briefing at the Italian Grand Prix a week ago and insisting that anyone gaining a similar advantage should not pass at the next corner, but wait until after that, by which time any momentum gained should have been lost again.

The stewards decision to demote Hamilton from first to third produced a championship swing in favour of Ferrari's Felipe Massa who, having been largely anonymous in tricky conditions at Spa-Francorchamps, was not only handed his fifth victory of the year, but also a chance to close to within two points of Hamilton, instead of being eight adrift heading to Monza. The Brazilian also finished ahead of his McLaren rival in Italy last weekend, and the gap between them now stands at a single point. Should the 23-year old Hamilton be reinstated as race winner, his advantage would grow to seven with four races remaining.

"All we can do is present the facts," McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh admitted, "Most people who were watching the race would say Lewis deserved to win and not Felipe. I'm probably slightly partisan on this, but I do actually believe that's what most people would imagine.

"We have just got to present the data and whatever the outcome is, that is the outcome. We are not counting on those points. We hold the lead in the drivers' championship by one slender point and we can expand upon that in the coming races."

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo would not be drawn on the possible outcome of the hearing when questioned by journalists recently, other than to say that, in his opinion, 'rules should be respected'.


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-23, Belgian F1 Grand Prix, Spa Francorchamps, 5-7th, September, 2008
French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard
Lando Norris, McLaren Autosport BRDC Awards [Credit: Martyn Pass PR]
Lewis Hamilton tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Pirelli 2017 tyre test [Credit: Pirelli]
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
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27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H

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Steve - Unregistered

September 22, 2008 8:02 AM

Is it possible to run a Poll on the front page to figure this out with a decent number of people. I think its ridiculous myself, the incident did not affect the outcome of the race. Had Kimi finished the race, there may have been a small reason to debate this, but unclear rules and the fact that race control said the move was OK, should have this kicked out. Let the racing be done on the track and not in the bloody courts like happens all too often in this so-called sport. It should get renamed to the "Formula One Strategy and Tyre Changing Championship" A lot of the racing has gone, and this is evident having long ago converted ot watching MotoGP, WSBK and the highlight of them all, WSS

IanK - Unregistered

September 22, 2008 8:54 AM

Although i hope that Mclaren win this appeal, for the benefit of the sport, but this,in my opinion, is a futile exercise, as Mr Mosley & the FIA have decided the result of this appeal already and are just going through the motions to try and placate the 1000s of F1 fans around the globe who are outraged at the decision by part-time stewards spoiling one of the most exciting races for many-a-year, and seemmingly, rightly or wrongly, favouring one team over the others and trying to steer the WDC & manufacturers title to a favoured team. I do hope that the FIA & Mr Mosley have the wings clipped on this one, but i`m not holding my breath



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