Oh, controversial. Controversial.
Felipe Massa was handed the win in the Belgian Grand Prix after the fact. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton actually crossed the line first, but the stewards said he cheated. They said when he passed Kimi Raikonnen for the lead he did it by cutting a corner on the racetrack. You are not allowed to do this.
If you cut a corner on track and pass somebody because of it, you have to let the other driver by again so he regains his advantage. Now this is where it gets controversial. If you look at the video, you can see that Hamilton does let Kimi by, barely. The question is did he let Kimi regain his advantage. I would argue no. Hamilton sat right on his rear wing and then sling-shot around him without giving Kimi the chance to regain the ground he’d had on Hamilton before Hamilton cut the corner. Confused yet?
So the stewards, in their infinite wisdom, gave Lewis Hamilton a drive through penalty. If you get a drive through penalty you have to do just that; drive through the pits. But since the stewards didn’t make their decision until after the race was over, instead of a drive through they added 25 seconds to his final time. Once they did this Massa came out on top and Hamilton was third.
Everybody is now up in arms saying the FIA are trying to manipulate the championship and are picking on McLaren. They may be right. I don’t know. I wouldn’t put it past the FIA to manipulate the championship. But then again, maybe not. I am no fan of Hamilton’s so this doesn’t break my heart.
Hamilton meanwhile mentioned in the post-race/pre-penalty press conference that he only cut the corner because Kimi pushed him wide. Kind of like what Hamilton did to Massa at Hockenheim. Both were perfectly legal moves. And Hamilton, if you are going to do it to the other drivers, you have to expect them to do it to you. That’s racing.
So the F1 fans are in an uproar, and Monza is next weekend. And Massa is only 2 points behind Hamilton for the World Championship. This is going to be good. Go Massa go!
Oh, and Alonso finished fourth. For one brief, shining moment I thought he was going to finish third. I was so excited, thinking I would get to see him in the podium (and in the press conference), but it was not to be. Somehow Nick Heidfeld of BMW got around him. Shoot.