Formula One conspiracy denied by steward

Kenyan Surinder Thathi, one of the three stewards at the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday where British driver Lewis Hamilton was stripped of victory, said today that there was no conspiracy against the McLaren team.

"There was no conspiracy against anybody, McLaren included. We acted professionally and within the FIA rules. Hamilton took a short cut inside of the corner while off the track," Thathi told Reuters.

British tabloid newspapers have claimed Hamilton was a victim of a conspiracy against McLaren after the stewards decided he had cut the chicane and gained an unfair advantage over Ferrari's world champion Kimi Raikkonen. Hamilton was relegated to third place

"We had a choice to mete out a time penalty or 10 grid places in the next Grand Prix race. We opted for the former and handed a time penalty of 25 seconds," Thathi said.

"I know I am a very unpopular person in the United Kingdom now, but then I was doing my job and I know I acted professionally."