Lewis Hamilton has blasted the FIA’s decision to penalise him for cutting a chicane during a thrilling battle with Kimi Raikkonen in the closing stages of Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix.
When rain began to fall in the dying laps, Hamilton closed right up onto his rival’s gearbox, before diving around the outside of him at the Bus Stop Chicane. Raikkonen held the inside line though and forced Hamilton to take to the escape road.
Stewards’ later deemed Hamilton had gained an unfair advantage by doing so since he appeared to use the momentum to catapault himself past Raikkonen at the next corner.
When asked whether he felt he deserved his penalty Hamilton told reporters in Spa-Francorchamps ‘absolutely not’, before slamming the penalty as being ‘absolutely wrong’.
“I left him enough room, yet he picked up more pace going into the corner, and drove me as wide as he possibly could,” Hamilton added.
“I was accelerating so that I didn’t lose too much ground, because I thought that would be unfair. I didn’t want to wait until he’d flown past because we were still racing.
“Eventually I could see him accelerating and I knew, ok, this is alright, so I began to accelerate, but slowly. I don’t believe I was full throttle; I was waiting for him to accelerate past which he did. That was a great fight and I don’t think there was anything wrong there.”
Hamilton insists that he had no option but to cut across the escape road after Kimi Raikkonen held the inside line at the chicane, forcing Hamilton wide.
“What more could I do?” Hamilton protested. “I don’t know what more I could have done. This is motor racing and if there’s a penalty, then there’s something wrong, but you know what they’re like, so we will see.”
Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Vice-President Norbert Haug concurred: “In our opinion, Lewis did not achieve this win because of an illegitimate advantage.”