Hamilton reiterates: Feels as if FIA targets me

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton legal battle

Lewis Hamilton loses legal battle over 'Hamilton' trademark.

Lewis Hamilton says it definitely feels as if the FIA is trying to do everything it can to slow his charge after incurring a 10-second penalty at the Russian GP.

Hamilton started the Russian Grand Prix with an investigation hanging over his head for practicing a start outside the designated zone.

The Mercedes driver was hit with two five-second time penalties that cost him a shot at winning the race.

That meant he wasn’t able to celebrate what would have been a monumental occasion by equalling Michael Schumacher’s all-time race win record.

Instead the win went to Valtteri Bottas with Max Verstappen second and Hamilton third.

The Brit immediately hit out at the stewards, saying the penalty was “ridiculous” and accusing them of trying to “stop” him.

His mood wasn’t helped by the two penalty points he was also slapped with. That brought his tally to 10 in 12 months with the Brit flirting with a one-race ban.

The penalty points were subsequently retracted.

Asked if he felt the FIA was trying to spice up the show by slowing him down, Hamilton told the media: “I don’t necessarily think that it’s for me, I think probably most teams – whenever a team is at the front, obviously they are doing a lot of scrutiny.

“Everything we have on our car is being checked and triple checked and triple checked.

“They are changing rules, such as the engine regs, lots of lots of things to get in the way to keep the racing exciting, I assume.

“I don’t know if the rules – in terms of what happened today – was anything to do with it but naturally that’s how it feels, naturally it feels like you we’re fighting uphill.

“But,” he added, “it’s OK, it’s not like I haven’t faced adversity before so we just keep our heads down and keep fighting and keep trying to do a better job and be cleaner and squeaky clean, as I said before.”

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FIA race director Michael Masi has already stated that he is open to having a talk if that’s how the Brit really feels but for now the Mercedes driver just wants to go home.

“I haven’t decided [if he’ll speak with Masi], ” he said, “but at the moment I’m looking forward to getting home.

As for the prospect of a race ban, now a little further away than it was in the immediate aftermath of the grand prix, Hamilton says he may yet take some time to comb through the rule book to make sure he knows all the obscure rules.

He said: “I guess we’ll go through the rule book and pick out areas where they can create rules, areas where penalties have never been given before and we’ll try and figure out all the ones that they have and try to make sure that we cover ourselves in the ones that we are aware of.

“Like I said before, I don’t think anyone’s had the penalty for that before so we’ll just work hard and… we’ve gone through seasons before without penalties so just have to make sure I give them no reason, not even a sniff to be able to do something.”

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