x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Hamilton will argue case for regaining points deduction

Lewis Hamilton will stand before a Paris appeal court today for a hearing that could ultimately affect the outcome of the Formula One championship.

If Hamilton wins, his lead will swell to seven points.
If Hamilton wins, his lead will swell to seven points.

LONDON // Lewis Hamilton will stand before a Paris appeal court today for a hearing that could ultimately affect the outcome of the Formula One championship. Six points are at stake for the 23-year-old, who is due to appear at the hearing with McLaren team bosses before flying on to Singapore to prepare for the sport's first night race on Sunday.

Should the court decide to overrule Belgian Grand Prix stewards, who stripped Hamilton of victory at Spa this month and demoted him to third for cutting a chicane, then the McLaren driver could see his lead over Ferrari's Felipe Massa increase from one point to seven with four races remaining. Massa inherited the victory at Spa-Francorchamps after finishing the race as runner-up. The court's verdict is due to be released by the governing body tomorrow, but the three judges must first decide whether the Mercedes-powered team's plea is admissible.

McLaren will argue that Hamilton returned the position gained and that the penalty was too harsh. They are also sure to repeat their assertion that race control twice told them after the incident that Hamilton was in the clear. "All we can do is present the facts," the McLaren chief executive Martin Whitmarsh said. "Whatever the outcome is, that is the outcome. "We are not counting on those points, we hold the lead at the moment in the drivers' championship by one slender point and we can expand upon that in the coming races.

The FIA clarified the rules at Monza, with drivers told they must cede the place and allow at least one corner before overtaking again if they gained an advantage by cutting a chicane. However, Whitmarsh did not expect that to have any bearing on the hearing. * Reuters