McLaren and Lewis Hamilton did lie to the stewards at the post-race meeting, the FIA insisted in its official statement this evening.
This allegation contradicts McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh’s assertion this afternoon that there were no untruths in that hearing. The FIA say that Lewis Hamilton and Dave Ryan, the two McLaren employees who attended the stewards meeting, knowingly lied to them.
The key part of the FIA statement reads:
”During the hearing, held approximately one hour after the end of the race, the Stewards and the Race Director questioned Lewis Hamilton and his Team Manager David Ryan specifically about whether there had been an instruction given to Hamilton to allow Trulli to overtake.
Both the driver and the Team Manager stated that no such instruction had been given. The Race Director specifically asked Hamilton whether he had consciously allowed Trulli to overtake. Hamilton insisted that he had not done so.”
It goes on to say:
”a. Immediately after the race and before Lewis Hamilton attended the Stewards Meeting he gave an interview to the Media where he clearly stated that the Team had told him to let Trulli pass.
b. Furthermore, the radio exchanges between the driver and the Team contain two explicit orders from the Team to let the Toyota pass.”
Such a strongly worded statement from the FIA contradicted team principal Martin Whitmarsh’s earlier assertion.
”There was no lie in that hearing,” Whitmarsh is quoted by autosport.com as saying. His story was that McLaren had withheld radio evidence.
Many observers remain bemused by Hamilton and Ryan’s decision to omit the truth when speaking to the stewards. This decision would have been extremely foolhardy, having told the media the real story first, and knowing as they must have done that all radio communications are publicly available this season.