Oops! Two ‘rejected appeal’ posts one after another
FIA’s International Court of Appeal has dismissed McLaren’s plea against the 25 seconds penalty accorded to Lewis Hamilton in the Belgian Grand Prix on the grounds that it is “inadmissible”.
The Court rejected McLaren’s right to appeal, citing Paragraph 5 of Article 152 of the International Sporting Code, which states: “Penalties of driving through or stopping in pit lanes together with certain penalties specified in FIA Championship regulations where this is expressly stated, are not susceptible to appeal.” The Court’s decision means Hamilton’s championship lead remains at just a single point over Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, who inherited the victory at Spa.[Formula1.com]
That was what many pundits had foreseen but back then, my immediate thought was that the penalty would be overturned! As it turned out, mine was one of the very few opinions in favour of McLaren/Hamilton . Most of his racing colleagues were also against him and supported the penalty, albeit somewhat mutedly.
The F1 season is now moving into its home-stretch, with just four more races remaining and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa trails Hamilton by just one point. As ESPN’s Sporstcenter showed earlier tonight, if the remaining four races go the same way as last year, Massa would win the Drivers’ Championship by 4 points! The onus is now upon Lewis to lift himself up for the immediate Singaporean Grand Prix. No doubt, the news would have come as a shot in the arm for Massa and he also would look towards maximising the results from the next races. Kimi Raikkonen and Robert Kubica would be ever eager in the background to snap up the points in case the leaders trip up. Exciting days (and the lone night) ahead for F1.
In an interesting development, the Belgian Grand Prix victory was handed over to Ferrari’s Felipe Massa as the stewards decided to penalise Lewis Hamilton for his overtaking manoeuvre on Kimi Raikkonen by handing him a 25 second add-on. This drops him to 3rd place and promotes Massa and Heidfeld to 1st and 2nd respectively.
Ferrari’s Felipe Massa has been declared the winner of Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix after McLaren’ Lewis Hamilton was handed a 25-second time penalty following the race. Hamilton drops to third place as a result, with BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld moving up to second. Hamilton was penalised after stewards decided he had gained an advantage by cutting the final chicane in his late-race battle with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. McLaren plan to appeal the decision.
The revised result means that rather than extending his championship lead over Massa, Hamilton now sees it cut, with the Briton heading the Brazilian by just two points, 76 to 74, with five races remaining. [Source: Formula1.com]
This surely throws a spanner in Hamilton’s Championship hopes and increases Massa’s chances dramatically. Though if McLaren win their appeal (and I think they will), the advantage is back with Hamilton!
Rain was the biggest hero/villain at the Belgian Grand Prix after it came down with just 5 laps to go and changed the entire complexion of the race (and probably the World Championship!). Hero, because it shook up the race like anything at the end and gave us few hold-your-breath moments of racing. Villain, because it had a part in scuppering the chances of Kimi Raikkonen, who had drove a corker of a race up until that time! He and Lewis Hamilton were playing out a humdinger of a race at the top of the pack and with just 5 laps to go, the gap between these two was a mere 2 seconds. Then the rain came and some hectic slipping, sliding, passing and re-passing later, it was Hamilton who emerged unscathed as Raikkonen hit the barriers. Thus ended the Finn’s hope of a fourth consecutive win at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. The Championship battle also seems over for Kimi as with five more races to go, the gap between him and leader Hamilton has increased to 23 points!
Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton and Nick Heidfeld on the Podium at the Belgian Grand Prix
Felipe Massa finished the race in 2nd position after Kimi’s shunt and now Ferrari must surely put all their efforts behind him. BMW’s Nick Heidfeld clinched 3rd place after some daring passing moves in the wet on the last lap of the race! Fernando Alonso took fourth place, after pitting and putting on wet-weather tyres on the penultimate lap. Fifth place fell to Sebastian Vettel with Robert Kubica, Sebastian Bourdais and Timo Glock taking up sixth, seventh and eighth places.
The winner maybe Hamilton but the drive of the race was produced by Kimi Raikkonen. What more can be a better way to answer your critics than to get a good start, pull off two overtaking manoeuvres – one over your teammate and another over pole-sitter & Championship leader – & drive a stormer of a race! Of course he took home zero points but it showed that the racing fire is still burning steadily. It was sheer bad luck, coupled with unfavourable conditions and some better level-headed driving from Hamilton that saw Kimi lose out. The Championship race must surely be a two-horse one, with Hamilton and Massa separated by 8 points going into the last 5 races of the season. Robert Kubica jumps into 3rd place with a 1 point advantage over Kimi Raikkonen. It will now be a straight shootout for the title and I feel Kimi will be more helpful to Massa than Kovalainen will be to Hamilton. But again, Hamilton is ahead in points so its pretty much balanced out.
Image Courtesy: BBC Sport