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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hamilton Wants to Earn the Title on Merit

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has submitted an appeal of the results from Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix.

The complaint stems from fuel temperatures that were taken during the race from the cars that finished fourth, fifth, and sixth. The fuel samples showed cooler than permitted temperatures. Race officials elected not to impose any penalties because the evidence was thought to be inconclusive. These were the cars of Nico Rosberg, Robert Kubica, and Nick Heidfeld. Nico Rosberg drives for Williams Toyota while Kubica and Heidfeld pilot the BMW Saubers. The penalty for an infraction of this nature would call for the disqualification of the cars involved.

If the penalty is levied against the teams in question, Lewis Hamilton and McLaren would then be classified as the fourth place finisher. Hamilton came home in seventh place so being declared the fourth place finisher would appear to be an insignificant difference. However, the points, that accompany a fourth place finish, would be enough to eclipse the point total of race winner and eventual World Champion Kimi Raikkonen.

The Federation Internationale De L'Automobile and Formula 1 cannot afford such a legal battle. On the heels of the record fine against McLaren for receiving technical documents from a former Scuderia Ferrari employee, another court battle would overshadow a brilliant season.

Lewis Hamilton is placed in an unenviable position as the beneficiary of politics. Raikkonen earned the right to battle for the title in the last grand prix of the season. It would be a shame to take Kimi's title because of a court ruling. Hamilton said he would feel uncomfortable winning the title by default and did not want to deprive Raikkonen of a deserved victory.

“You want to win the race and do it in style. Being promoted after some people have been thrown out is not the way I want to win it," said Hamilton.

The FIA and the International Court of Appeal will now decide whether to grant the appeal and set a date for the hearing. Instead of enjoying a stellar season, Hamilton will now have to wait for a world title awarded by the courts. If Hamilton is given the title, it will come with an asterisk in the history books. Having a title handed to a driver is not the ideal way to enter the record books (ask Bobby Unser and Mario Andretti). Lewis will win a world title if this year was any indication of things to come. In addition, he will win a title, based on his skill and results, on the track not in a courtroom.

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