More has emerged about the nature of the stewards’ second hearing with Lewis Hamilton and Dave Ryan on the Thursday in Sepang.
The two were summoned to re-appear after radio evidence was brought to light, which proved they had lied about whether Hamilton received an order from McLaren to slow and let Jarno Trulli’s Toyota through.
At the second hearing, the two were apparently played the tape of the recorded conversation and Lewis’ post-race media interviews, but in a farcical twist refused to change their story.
An FIA source told Autosport magazine: “First of all, Lewis heard the radio exchange. It appeared that the strategy was to be extremely vague and not be very direct with the answers. Then the interview where he said, ‘I was told to let him through’ was played.
“At that point they both got very uncomfortable, but still denied that’s what had actually happened.
“It was a bit surreal, this situation where you had the radio evidence and the interview, and they were putting a completely different interpretation on what the words actually meant. But the words were very, very clear.”
McLaren sporting director Dave Ryan was later dismissed by the McLaren group, with Hamilton’s very public confession that he was simply following orders from the team. Some sections of the press have defended the two on the basis of their previous dealings with stewards, for example in Spa last year, where many observers felt the team hard done by.
Nevertheless the consequences for the team, as yet unpunished save for the loss of Lewis’ points in Australia, could involve a ban or a fine.