His focus should be on trying to tie up the Formula 1 title this weekend in China, but instead Lewis Hamilton is under investigation for his driving behind the Safety Car during the Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji last weekend.

Hamilton stormed to victory in difficult conditions at the mountain circuit to open up a twelve point lead over Fernando Alonso heading into the penultimate round of the season - meaning he could lift the title if he finishes ahead of his team-mate in Shanghai.

However, Hamilton is now facing the prospect of being hit with a grid penalty in China or even exclusion from the Japanese results following complaints about erratic driving during the Safety Car periods at the start of the race and following Alonso's accident mid-way through.

It was during that second Safety Car period that Hamilton appeared to slow on track, with Sebastian Vettel in third claiming Lewis' driving caused enough of a distraction for him to collide with second placed Mark Webber and put both into retirement.

"New evidence has emerged and the stewards are looking into it," an FIA spokesman told Reuters. "We can't pre-empt the stewards' discussion, let alone the decision."

Both Webber and Vettel continued to be upset about the incident when it came up in discussion during the Thursday press conference in Shanghai, with Webber in particular pulling no punches about what had happened.

"It definitely contributed to Sebastian hitting me up the back that we were confused at what the other car was doing, because he wasn't doing what you are supposed to do," he said. "I think he did a shit job behind the Safety Car. He did a shit job and that's it. He spoke in the drivers' briefing about how good a job he was going to do and then he did the job the opposite way, so we know for next time, it's no problem."

"At that point I was just distracted, you could say," Vettel added. "I was looking to the right and I was sure he (Hamilton) was retiring, there was no power anymore and yeah, all I can say is that by the time I looked back I was already in Mark's rear end so... It's not to blame anybody but for sure the reason was the rhythm was not there."

Hamilton's team-mate Alonso, who was also present in the press conference, would only say 'I think I agree with the two versions'.

 

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