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McLaren: race control gave us the all clear 10 Sep 2008

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari F2008 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/23 battle for the lead of the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Belgian Grand Prix, Race, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 7 September 2008. © Sutton A press release from the FIA announcing that Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes has been given a 25 second penalty, relegating him to third position.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Belgian Grand Prix, Race, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 7 September 2008. © Sutton

McLaren have revealed that they were assured by FIA race officials during the Belgian Grand Prix that Lewis Hamilton had done enough, by allowing Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen to repass him, to prevent the British driver from being penalised for cutting a chicane earlier in the duo’s epic battle.

“From the pit wall, we asked race control to confirm that they were comfortable that Lewis had allowed Kimi to repass, and they confirmed twice that they believed that the position had been given back in a manner that was 'okay',” explained McLaren’s F1 CEO Martin Whitmarsh in a statement released on Tuesday.

Following the race, however, Hamilton was handed a 25-second time penalty by the Belgian Grand Prix stewards, after it was ruled he had gained an unfair advantage over Raikkonen. As a result, Hamilton was demoted from first place to third and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa was declared the winner of the Spa event.

“If race control had instead expressed any concern regarding Lewis’s actions at that time, we would have instructed Lewis to allow Kimi to repass for a second time,” added Whitmarsh.

McLaren have now lodged an appeal against the stewards’ decision.