x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Lewis forced into embarrassing withdrawal

Lewis Hamilton ended up with egg on his face after being denied the chance to compete against racing rival Jenson Button.

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button of share a joke.
Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button of share a joke.

Lewis Hamilton ended up with egg on his face after being denied the chance to compete against racing rival Jenson Button in a battle to prove who was the fittest. The British star had accepted a challenge to take on Button in a triathlon, with charity the winner. It followed Hamilton's earlier boast that he was the fittest man in Formula One. In a fun-packed press conference before the weekend's British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Button said: "What if I say 10,000 (pounds) to the charity of your choice if you beat me? It's the only thing I can be competitive in at the moment." Hamilton checked his diary on his phone before agreeing to the showdown. "I've checked my calendar to see if I am busy that day - and unfortunately I don't think I am," he said. "The biggest incentive is, if I do beat you, you've got some money for a charity which is great. You have the advantage as you've already done one and I know that by doing one, you're better the next time. But I'm up for it." But as press and PR officials licked their lips at the prospect of the pair competing in the gruelling swim, bike and run event, the dream ended before it had barely begun. And it was all down to Hamilton's dad, Anthony. He put the brakes on the idea by sending out a statement. "Lewis accepted the challenge like the good sport he is, but his management has decided to withdraw him from it." But to make matters worse, McLaren would not have had a problem with the race and another statement then went out from Hamilton Snr, saying: "Lewis accepted the challenge like the good sport he is, and in the spirit with which he accepts things. "But unfortunately for Lewis we are withdrawing him from this. We are in the middle of the championship, and that is the focus of our attention." Whether a charitable donation is made by the Hamiltons remains to be seen as this was a great opportunity to prove the winner and benefit others at the same time. It has not been a good time for the young starlet, 23, as he looks to revive his bid to win the world championship. He is 10 points behind Ferrari's Felipe Massa having failed to score in his last two races. He also crashed into the back of Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari in the pit lane while flopping in Canada.