Bernie Ecclestone has laid the blame for Lewis Hamilton missing out on this year's Formula One world title squarely at the feet of Mclaren team boss Ron Dennis, according to reports.

Despite appearing to change his mind several times during television coverage of the pre-race preparations at Interlagos, Ecclestone made little effort to hide his desire for Hamilton to be world champion during the season, especially claiming that the Briton would be a 'better' champion than either of his rivals, and sounded clearly disappointed when Kimi Raikkonen came through to clinch the crown on Sunday.

"Ron gave Raikkonen the championship," Ecclestone told Britain's Mirror newspaper, suggesting that McLaren over-reacted to Hamilton's lap four gearbox problem by switching him to a three-stop strategy, "If he hadn't called Hamilton in for that silly low fuel and soft tyres stint, he could have won the championship. He made no time on the road and lost 25 seconds making the stop. If he had only lost 15 seconds, he would have been fourth."

Needing only a top four finish to deprive Raikkonen of the title, even if the Finn won the race - as he duly did - Hamilton eventually came home seventh after being unable to catch and pass the closely-matched trio of Nico Rosberg, Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld.

"I feel sorry for Lewis after his performances this year as a rookie," Ecclestone concluded, "Raikkonen is champion - I just hope he starts talking more."



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