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McLaren appeal Hamilton's Belgian F1 penalty

  • Story Highlights
  • McLaren appeal Lewis Hamilton's demotion at Belgian Grand Prix
  • Team CEO says they checked twice with officials over passing incident
  • Felipe Massa: Hamilton deserved to lose Belgian Grand Prix win
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By CNN's Glen Scanlon
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- McLaren have lodged an appeal over the controversial time penalty that cost Lewis Hamilton victory at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton celebrates his Belgian GP win -- he would later be demoted to third for an illegal move.

Hamilton was penalized 25 seconds by race stewards for cutting a chicane at Spa-Francorchamps while passing leader Kimi Raikkonen with little over two laps left.

He handed the position back to the Finn, as dictated by the rules, only to immediately pass him again going into the next corner.

The penalty was handed down after the race, relegating Hamilton to third behind Ferrari's Felipe Massa and BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld. Raikkonen failed to finish.

McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh, confirming the appeal to the FIA, the sport's ruling body, said the team had asked race control at the time of the incident to confirm they were happy with the way Hamilton had handed back the lead to Raikkonen.

"They confirmed twice that they believed that the position had been given back in a manner that was 'okay'," Whitmarsh said.

"If Race Control had instead expressed any concern regarding Lewis's actions at that time, we would have instructed Lewis to allow Kimi to repass for a second time."

Hamilton repeated his earlier statement that he had little choice but to cut the chicane.

"In the closing stages of the race I was catching Kimi consistently, lap by lap, and with three laps remaining I got close enough to attempt to overtake him on the entry to the last chicane.

"I managed to get slightly ahead of him in the braking area for the first apex of the chicane. He fought back approaching the second apex - but, in doing so, he left no room for me on the inside line. The only way for me to avoid a collision was therefore to cut inside the second apex," Hamilton said.

Hamilton said after the chicane he made room for Raikkonen.

"The team also came on the radio and instructed me to allow Kimi to repass, which I had already done. As a result, Kimi crossed the start/finish line ahead of me and 6.7km/h quicker than me.

"After allowing Kimi to completely repass, I crossed from the left side of the track to the right side of the track, passing behind Kimi in the process. I then attacked Kimi on the inside of the first corner, and successfully out braked him."

Earlier, Massa said he believed Hamilton's penalty was justified and that the Briton was too impatient.

"If Lewis had taken the chicane correctly, he would never have been able to pass Kimi on the very short straight that follows it," he said.

"Incidents like this have often been discussed in the official driver briefings, when it was made absolutely clear that anyone cutting a chicane has to fully restore the position and also any other eventual advantage gained.

"Maybe if Lewis had waited and tried to pass on the next straight, that would have been a different matter."

However, three-time world champion Niki Lauda described the penalty as "the worst judgment in the history of F1."

The appeal will be heard by the FIA's International Court of Appeal, although a date is yet to be set.

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