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Hamilton unrepentant over Malaysia move 15 Apr 2011

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai, China, Thursday, 14 April 2011 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/26 leads Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 150 Italia.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 10 April 2011 With the Ferrari's DRS not working, Alonso tries to make his move elsewhere and clips the rear wheel of Hamilton Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai, China, Thursday, 14 April 2011 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 150 Italia makes a pit stop for a front wing change. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 10 April 2011

Lewis Hamilton says he did nothing wrong in defending third place in Malaysia last weekend from arch-enemy Fernando Alonso, even though the race stewards gave him a 20s time penalty which subsequently dropped him from seventh to eighth place. The stewards insisted that he made more than one change of direction trying to keep the Spaniard behind him on the 45th lap. But they also penalised the Ferrari driver 20s for running into the back of Hamilton’s McLaren on the next lap.

"I don't think I was overly defending my position," he said yesterday. "I'm a racer, and people want to see racing, they want to see overtaking and I would never in a million years try to put anyone else - or even myself - in danger.

"I think I've always raced with my heart and I think I've always made pretty smart decisions when it comes to racing and defending. When you're defending you have to try and make your car as wide as possible. The rule is basically that you're not allowed to make more than one manoeuvre to defend, but where they were saying I was defending too much was on the straight, where he actually was 10 or 15 metres behind me, so I wasn't defending a move that he had done.”

Hamilton also argued successfully last year that he was not blocking Vitaly Petrov’s Renault on the straights, but the stewards thought the two incidents were different. "It's how you interpret the rules and you can't do anything about it,” he acknowledged. “But I appreciate all the support I've had."

Meanwhile, though he was encouraged by his pace in the Malaysian race, Alonso says he isn’t expecting an easy weekend here. "There is not much time to change cars, so I expect difficult pace, and a difficult weekend again. But the race is long. In qualifying last week it seemed the first four cars were unbeatable, but in the race, with everything normal, we were set to finish second or third.

"So we arrive to China knowing that it will be difficult but we will have some opportunities if we do things right. We need to keep working in a good direction, as we did here.

"In Australia we were not quick enough in qualifying, but in the race we were struggling a lot and were 40-50 seconds behind the leader. Malaysia was better, so let’s see.”

David Tremayne

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