Did Sutil avenge Hamilton snub? German's go-slow leaves Lewis' title hopes in tatters as Vettel steals pole

By Chris Power

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Last year Adrian Sutil branded Lewis Hamilton a coward and ended their friendship after the Briton decided not to be a witness in his assault case. Sutil could have dealt a knockout blow to Hamilton’s title hopes.

Moving into the final turn at Parabolica with his last chance of pushing himself into the third and final qualifying session at the Italian Grand Prix, Hamilton found himself held up behind the Force India of the German, who was subsequently handed a three-place grid penalty by stewards following an investigation.

Stopped in his tracks: Lewis Hamilton saw his lap impeded by the Force India of Adrial Sutil

Stopped in his tracks: Lewis Hamilton saw his lap impeded by the Force India of Adrial Sutil

Gutted: Lewis Hamilton was clearly frustrated with himself after qualifying a lowly 12th

Gutted: Hamilton was clearly frustrated with himself after qualifying a lowly 12th

Top of the pile: Mark Webber (left) and Sebastian Vettel sealed a front row lockdown for Red Bull, while Nico Hulkenburg (right) sprung a surprise for Sauber

Top of the pile: Mark Webber (left) and Sebastian Vettel sealed a front row lockdown for Red Bull, while Nico Hulkenburg (right) sprung a surprise for Sauber

Happy with that: Vettel posted the 40th pole of his career

Happy with that: Vettel posted the 40th pole of his career

Starting grid

1 Vettel (Red Bull)

2 Webber (Red Bull)

3 Hulkenburg (Sauber)

4 Massa (Ferrari)

5 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)

6 Rosberg (Mercedes)

7 Ricciardo (Toro Rosso)

8 Perez (McLaren)

9 Button (McLaren)

10 Vergne (Toro Rosso)

In a sport measured in hundreths of a second, the lost time was crucial and now Hamilton’s chances of a second world title look to have been held up, too. He will start today’s race from 12th on the grid, the first time in 67 races he has failed to make the top 10 in qualifying.

Hamilton was furious, but blamed himself rather than risk dredging up the past by accusing Sutil. The Mercedes driver admitted that his error in running wide and into the gravel at Parabolica on his first run in Q2 was to blame.

‘I drove like an idiot,’ said Hamilton. ‘That is the worst I have driven for a very, very long time and I am sorry for the team.

But asked whether Sutil did indeed hold him up at Parabolica on his final lap, Hamilton, who won this race last year for McLaren, said: ‘Yep, but there’s nothing you can do about it. I should have done a lap before that. I just didn’t drive well. There’s not really much more to say.’

Wild thing: Fernando Alonso was said to be lived after being out-qualified by team-mate Felipe Massa

Wild thing: Fernando Alonso was said to be lived after being out-qualified by team-mate Felipe Massa

Trouble in paradise: Ferrari President Luca Cordero di Montezemolo (right) wipes his forehead as he listens to team principal Stefano Domenicali

Trouble in paradise: Ferrari President Luca Cordero di Montezemolo (right) wipes his forehead as he listens to team principal Stefano Domenicali

And there was a long pause when asked if he was writing off the race before he said: ‘I’ll do whatever I can from where I am but it’s going to be tough.’

There is clearly no love lost between Sutil and Hamilton.

Last year, the German was handed an 18-month suspended prison sentence for grievous bodily harm when he was found guilty of hitting Renault chief Eric Lux in the neck with a champagne glass, inflicting a wound that required 24 stitches, during an incident in a Shanghai nightclub in 2011.

Sutil maintained that it was an accident; that he merely meant to throw the drink over Lux. Hamilton, partying with Sutil in the nightclub at the time, was due to give evidence but later changed his mind, citing commitments with his then team, McLaren. He instead wrote a statement insisting he had not seen the incident.

After the assault hearing, Sutil had said: ‘Lewis is a coward. I don’t want to be friends with someone like that. To me, he is not even a man.’

Where did that come from? Hulkenburg (left) fund some tremendous pace, steering his Sauber into third

Where did that come from? Hulkenburg (left) fund some tremendous pace, steering his Sauber into third

Flying lap: Hulkenburg produced a sensational lap

Flying lap: Hulkenburg produced a sensational lap

Hamilton’s U-turn clearly still rankles with Sutil and he may have been instrumental in ending both Hamilton’s run of four consecutive pole positions and his hopes of adding to his only world title win in 2008, with the Briton trailing in the championship by 58 points.

Hamilton also later took to Twitter to add: ‘I apologise to the team and the fans today. I will be pushing like hell to get a decent finish tomorrow.’

Pole position, somewhat inevitably, went to Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull, his 40th and the team’s 50th. But the surprise of the day came from Nico Hulkenberg of Sauber, who qualified third; the team’s highest start since 2006.

Star turn: Rowan Atkinson was in the Mercedes garage for qualifying

Star turn: Rowan Atkinson was in the Mercedes garage for qualifying

Getting in the swing of things: Formula One fans enjoy an afternoon in the sun

Getting into the swing of things: Formula One fans enjoy an afternoon in the sun

 

The comments below have not been moderated.

12 NEGATIVE arrows for my last post hahaha ! Watch netball FI's not for you!!

Click to rate     Rating   4

Sutil said Lewis is a coward. I would suggest that glassing someone is an act of absolute cowardice. You can almost see the "goosestep" when he's walking.

Click to rate     Rating   18

F1 really have to get to grips with a situation where one team is dominating all the time, it's like when Ferrari and Schumaker virtually killed F1 a few years back by outspending all the other teams, it's pretty well finished for this year as well....shame

Click to rate     Rating   14

- Completely Average , Somewhere, United States, 08/9/2013 17:5 Wasn't Kimi in a Ferrari too? Not Hamilton's fault Alonso ran off to Renault either. If Alonso was not such a trouble maker Lewis would have won in 2007. Under playing Hamilton's only title win is like under playing Kimi's, would Kimi have beaten Hamilton the ROOKIE if Alonso was not such bad blood at McLaren? If McLaren never sabotaged Lewis' race at Monaco for Alonso, that would have been enough points for him to win the season. There were also a few suspect races where McLaren looked to be favouring Alonso pre hungary 2007 when Hamilton finally stood up to Alonso's BULL. Also if you want to put down Hamilton ONLY title win, lets put down Buttons ONLY double diffuser title win too. Talking of double diffusers, Kers, DRS, flexi wings, ride heights, mass dampers, traction control and what have you not, Hamilton last man in F1 to win without these driver gimmicks.

Click to rate     Rating   14

"Let's put this another way shall we? Hamilton's ONLY championship came when his primary competitor was MASSA, and he almost lost that when Vettel of all people passed him on track in a Toro Rosso" "It was only because Hamilton was gifted an easy pass on Timo Glock on the very last corner of the last lap that he has any championship wins at all"- Completely Average, Somewhere, United States, 8/9/2013 17:51---------------------Massa was the favourite for the title. Because of this, Rakkionen, Massa, and Ferrari were working together to stop Hamilton, as they saw him as the only threat, and the McLaren's weren't better than the Ferrari's that season. As for the Timo Glock incident. He did not come in for a tyre change, so he lost grip on the wet track. The fact is Massa / Ferrari should have won that title already, but they failed. Hamilton earned that title, fair, and square, because he fought for it.

Click to rate     Rating   10

- saymyname, London, United Kingdom, 8/9/2013 1:10

So ultimately what you're really saying is that there are 2 drivers besides Vettel currently racing who also won in inferior cars, and Hamilton came in SECOND in the WDC driving the very best car.

Let's put this another way shall we? Hamilton's ONLY championship came when his primary competitor was MASSA, and he almost lost that when Vettel of all people passed him on track in a Toro Rosso. It was only because Hamilton was gifted an easy pass on Timo Glock on the very last corner of the last lap that he has any championship wins at all.

And as for Vettel's first win, Hamilton was on the same track in a McLaren. If Hamilton is so much better why didn't he win? Why did Hamilton finish in 7th if he's a better driver in a better car?

Click to rate     Rating   20

CMON WEBBER CRASH YOUR CAR INTO VETTEL ON FIRST CORNOR! Make all F1 fans proud!. Farhan Blue Through& Through, London, 7/9/2013 10:21 I know all Webber fans hate Sebastian but I don't think he's the type of guy who can do that sort of thing.. What kind of driver do you think he is?? Make all F1 fans proud with that???? Probably when Mark reads your comment, he'll probably say, 'I'm worried'

Click to rate     Rating   9

Credit where credit is due. No one can take anything away from Lewis today. He drove a blinder - literally, with no coms he did not know how his fuel was, his tyre wear or when to pit. Excellent work. I am a Vettel fan, but you've gotta give it to Lewis this time.

Click to rate     Rating   35

Is just me or does Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bin) look like Arsene Wenger's long lost twin brother?

Click to rate     Rating   1

Wait for the Film Rush. You'll see the real deal thern. Last true 'playboy driver' was Eddie Irvine. Legend!!!!! These insipid wolly girls have missed the point. Jenson Buttons dad Jon is the ONLY real man on the grid!!!!

Click to rate     Rating   17
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