NASCAR & Auto Racing

Hamilton fails to overturn Belgian GP penalty

Lewis Hamilton lost his appeal to overturn his penalty from the Belgian Grand Prix on Tuesday, leaving the McLaren driver with a one-point lead over Ferrari rival Felipe Massa in the Formula One standings with four races remaining.

Hamilton finished first at Spa this month but was docked 25 seconds and dropped to third place for cutting a chicane. The victory was awarded to Massa.

Hamilton's lead is down to one point after the Italian GP.

"People will probably expect me to be depressed about today's result, but that isn't me," the 23-year-old Hamilton said in a statement. "All I want to do now is put this matter behind me and get on with what we drivers do best: racing each other."

Hamilton argued his case Monday before a three-judge panel on the International Court of Appeal, hoping to increase his lead to seven points, but FIA maintained that the stewards made the correct decision at the time.

"Article 152 of the International Sporting Code states that drive-through penalties are 'not susceptible to appeal,'" FIA said in a statement.

Hamilton arrived Tuesday in Singapore to prepare for Sunday's F1 race.

On Monday, Hamilton and his McLaren bosses attended a daylong hearing in Paris, with representatives from McLaren and Ferrari, and Hamilton, arguing their case.

"We have nothing to comment about the decision made by the FIA," Ferrari spokesman Luca Colajanni said by telephone.

At the race in Spa, Hamilton was dueling with Ferrari's Kimi Raikonnen - the defending F1 champion - in the closing stages of the Belgian GP and cut across the Bus Stop chicane to overtake the Finnish driver.

Hamilton immediately allowed Raikonnen to reclaim the lead before overtaking him at the next corner for the eventual win. The three appointed judges had to decide if Hamilton sufficiently surrendered the advantage he had gained when cutting the chicane.

"We're racers, we're naturally competitive, and we love to overtake," Hamilton said. "Overtaking is difficult, and it feels great when you manage to pull off a great passing maneuver. If it pleases the spectators and TV viewers, it's better still. So I'm disappointed, yes, but not depressed."

After the penalty, the win was awarded to Massa, while Hamilton was bumped to third.

Following Singapore, racers go to Japan and China before completing the championship in Brazil.

Rookie errors cost Hamilton last season when the British driver forfeited a 17-point advantage in the standings with two races to go.


AP Sports Writer Paul Logothetis in Madrid, Spain, contributed to this report.