Belfast Telegraph

Belgian Grand Prix: Boss springs to Hamilton’s defence

By Ian Parkes

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh launched a passionate defence of Lewis Hamilton following his latest accident.

It was following last year's Belgian Grand Prix that McLaren Whitmarsh described Sebastian Vettel as “the crash kid”, after the German wrecked Jenson Button's race by spearing into the side of the Briton's car.

This season, however, Hamilton has been embroiled in a series of incidents, the sum total of which have cost him countless points, and effectively mean his slim title hopes are almost over for this year.

The latest came on lap 13 of yesterday's race at Spa-Francorchamps, a circuit where Vettel and Red Bull won for the first time to leave Hamilton trailing by 113 points with 175 available.

Approaching the end of the Kemmel straight, the front-right tyre on the Sauber driven by Kamui Kobayashi hit at speed the left-rear on Hamilton's car.

The impact led to the 26-year-old Briton ploughing nose-first into a crash barrier, then careering through a polystyrene advertising hoarding before continuing on for a short distance and grinding to a halt.

The belief is Hamilton veered across slightly on Kobayashi without checking on the position of the Japanese driver.

Not for the first time Whitmarsh stood up for Hamilton as he said: “Everyone will have an opinion on what happened.

“He didn't go right over to the racing line, but had to get over to that part of the track.

“He was extremely unlucky because if you are behind the emphasis is on you not to make a connection quite as hard as that.”

Hamilton, who was given a clean bill of health, said: “I'm not really quite sure what happened other than hitting the wall pretty hard. As far as I'm concerned I was ahead of whoever I was racing and then I was hit by them from behind and that was my race over.”

Vettel claimed his 17th career win, and the 10th one-two with team-mate Mark Webber who finished second for the second successive year at Spa.

From 13th on the grid, and 19th following an early pit stop, Button grabbed another podium place to leave Whitmarsh describing him as “the driver of the day”.

Belfast Telegraph

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