Timo Glock has repeated his claim that he did not intentionally influence the F1 world championship situation on the final lap of a dramatic Brazilian Grand Prix, where Lewis Hamilton snatched victory from the jaws of defeat by passing the German.
With the usual flurry of conspiracy theories doing the rounds in the wake of the Briton's final corner comeback, Glock maintains that the last of Sunday's 71 laps was one of the toughest he had ever faced, as rain returned to Interlagos with a vengeance. The Toyota driver had taken the decision not to pit with the rest of the frontrunners when the first drops appeared on his visor, hoping that the shower would hold off long enough for him to benefit from the decision, but came up just short - and with the most dramatic consequences.
Hamilton, with the title on the line, had little option but to play it safe, and joined title rival Felipe Massa and frontrunners Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen in stopping for Bridgestone's 'intermediate' rubber. The Briton was then passed by an opportunistic Sebastian Vettel, which dropped him to sixth on the road and level on points with the more successful Massa, before the increasing precipitation gave the race one final twist.
"In the final laps, we saw that we had the opportunity to make up some places due to the rain," Glock insisted, reflecting on the race, "It started to rain lightly on parts of the circuit with around six laps to go and, at that stage, everyone was on dry tyres. We took the decision to stay out on dry tyres even though the intensity of the rain was increasing, as we were sure we could make up positions when the other cars pitted for wet weather tyres and because it was only on the last couple of laps that the wet tyre was superior. We stayed out and I was up to fourth, but it was not easy in those conditions in the last laps.
"It was not so bad until the final lap, when the rain really began to come down very heavily. Then, it was just impossible. It was so difficult to just keep the car on the track because it was very wet and the car was basically undriveable in those conditions. I was sliding everywhere, with absolutely no grip at all...."
With cynics suggesting that the outcome had somehow been fixed in Hamilton's favour, however, Glock insists that he had not done anything to influence the result, least of all backing off under orders to give the Briton the place - and the point - he needed to overcome Massa in the standings.
"Absolutely not!" he stormed, "It was completely the opposite - the final lap was one of the hardest laps I have done in F1 because there was no grip at all and, on dry tyres, it was almost impossible to keep the car on track.
"I was pushing really hard to keep fourth place and, if you look at the lap times, I was actually faster than [Toyota team-mate] Jarno [Trulli] on the final lap and he was the only other car on dry tyres at that stage."
Glock also maintains that he was unaware of the impending theatre his decision would bring to the final lap.
"To be honest, I was racing for Toyota and my place, which is the correct thing to do," he claimed, "I didn't even know that Lewis was directly behind me. The team told me that Sebastian Vettel was catching me and they kept me updated on his
position, but I was concentrating so hard on keeping the car on the track that I didn't even know that Lewis had overtaken me until after the race. I was passed by three or four cars on the final lap and it was not easy to keep track of what was going on."
However, with time to reflect on his decision, and the effect it had on the championship race, Glock maintains that he would not have changed anything given the chance to run the final six laps again.
"Absolutely no doubt about it, it was the right decision," he insisted, "We were running seventh before the rain came and we would have probably finished there if it had been totally dry. Instead, we finished sixth so that shows the strategy was the right one.