The controversial decision to strip Lewis Hamilton of victory in the Belgian
Grand Prix has been met with blanket bemusement in the media with Niki
Lauda, the former Formula One world champion, describing it as "the
worst judgement in the history of F1".
Just two hours after one of Formula One’s classic finishes, Hamilton was
denied victory by a hugely controversial retrospective punishment by the
race stewards in Spa. Lauda, a former Ferrari world champion, told Bild,
the German newspaper, that not only had Hamilton driven brilliantly, but
that he had not contravened the rules and deserved his victory.
"This is the worst judgement in the history of F1," he said. "It's
absolutely unacceptable when three (stewards) influence the championship
In Britain the press reaction has been equally damning. In the Daily Mail, Jonathan
McEvoy says the 23-year-old McLaren driver has been the "victim of a
conspiracy against McLaren", with the FIA heading a "polluted sport".
In The Independent David Tremayne describes the decision to demote
Hamilton from first to third as one "that will be long remembered as
being farcical and disgraceful by all in motor racing."
In The Daily Telegraph, Simon Arron says "the action was
beguiling, the final result was bewildering," while in the Daily
Express Bob Mckenzie says "the puppeteers of the FIA have pulled
the strings and made Lewis Hamilton and his McLaren team dance to Ferrari's
In the Daily Mirror, Byron Young says the sport is "back in the
dock" after Hamilton was "robbed of one of the greatest victories
of his career". He added: "As he drove away from Spa-Francorchamps
after another tawdry episode in the sport's history the 23-year-old must
have wondered what he will have to do to win this world title."
"That same old stench," Young says, "mars the sport and turns
fans away. That ruins the efforts of even the best competitors, taints the
day and leaves fans wondering what exactly they are 'fans' of."
Around the majority of the world the decision has been met with a equal
bemusement, however in Italy, the home of Ferrari, the reaction has been
Gazzetta Dello Sport say "Hamilton penalised!", and go on to
justify the decision to punish the McLaren-Mercedes driver.
The Italian newspaper says, "It's true that he let Raikkonen go first on
the straight, but because he immediately passed him, he ended up gaining an
advantage and therefore, he has been penalised. In order to consider his
actions a regular pass over Raikkonen, he should have waited at least
another turn rather than attacking so soon."