Hamilton senior defends Spa tactics

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The Independent Online

Anthony Hamilton insists Formula One's authorities will never take away yesterday's Belgian Grand Prix 'victory' from within the heart of son Lewis.

One of the most exciting finishes to a race for many a season was later shrouded in controversy when stewards stripped Hamilton of the win.

Despite a thrilling duel with Kimi Raikkonen in the closing stages, the Spa showdown will now be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

Yet as far as Lewis' dad Anthony is concerned, it was a fight won fair and square between two racing drivers hell bent on victory.

Speaking before the stewards reached their verdict, Hamilton senior said: "Whatever happens, they can't take it away from Lewis.

"They can take that victory away from Formula One, but they cannot take it away from us.

"We have been bitten on previous occasions by decisions and on this occasion, he was in front at the corner, played safe, and he didn't crash into Kimi.

"Everyone came out safe, he gave up the position - and this is my layman's view - and then he came back and overtook him.

"Do you want people to race or do you want people to just follow each other around?"

Following the decision, Anthony opted to keep his counsel, wisely so as you could see the look of annoyance and frustration on his face, although the tone may have been similar to his immediate post-race reaction.

The stewards ruled Hamilton cut a corner and gained an advantage, albeit one he immediately handed back to Raikkonen at the end of the 42nd lap of the 44-lap race.

Timing sheets show Raikkonen crossed the start-finish line first, and that he had a six-kilometres-per-hour advantage over Hamilton at that stage.

But that was clearly not enough for the stewards, who until they justify their verdict will continue to be pilloried.

McLaren have until tomorrow to confirm whether they will pursue an appeal, although FIA rules prohibit appeals against drive-through penalties.

As far as Anthony Hamilton is concerned, he at least has the memory of witnessing one of his son's finest drives, regardless of what has since followed.

"It is difficult really to keep finding superlatives," added the 44-year-old in the immediate aftermath of what he thought was a win.

"Every time Lewis goes out he seems to go one better. I couldn't tell you the best drive of his life, but that was probably very, very close to it.

"One of the things Lewis said when he was go-karting was 'never give up until the flag has dropped'.

"(The race) just reaffirmed everything he did when he was a go-karter."

Despite an apparent injustice, it is certain Hamilton will apply such rationale to the championship, which he now leads by just two points from Felipe Massa.