Hamilton wants 'fair and square' title decision

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The Independent Online

Lewis Hamilton insisted yesterday that he would not want to win the Formula One drivers' title through the disqualification of other drivers.

The British rookie missed out on the crown in his maiden season with McLaren by a single point after the Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen won in Brazil on Sunday. Following the FIA's decision not to penalise the Williams and BMW Sauber teams, which finished ahead of seventh-placed Hamilton but were subsequently found to have breached rules on fuel temperature, McLaren notified the governing body of their intention to appeal.

"I don't believe it will happen," Hamilton said. "For me, I want to do it on the track, and in style, by winning the race, or after battling it out for the lead. So being promoted after some people have been thrown out is not the way I want to do it. If I became world champion that way, it would feel weird.

"After Kimi did such a fantastic job, winning the last two races, to have it taken away from you, it's a bit cruel and probably not good for the sport. I don't know for what reasons they [the team] are pursuing it. I am sure they'll be good reasons. But as I've said, as a team we want to win it on the track, fair and square.

"It's just not the way to do it. The season is over and done with and we should move on. But if we were underweight, or our wing was incorrectly put together, then we would be thrown out. You have to stick to the rules, and if you have broken the rules then action should be taken. If they are wrong, they're wrong.

"I'm only 22, and there are going to be plenty more opportunities for me to win the World Championship, and I have no doubt that we can do that in the future."

The unseated world champion Fernando Alonso was unable yesterday to resist further swipes at his team-mate, and said that he would be "embarrassed" if Hamilton were to win the world title following an appeal launched against the result of the Brazilian Grand Prix by McLaren.

If the Williams and BMW Sauber drivers Nico Rosberg, Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld, who finished fourth, fifth and sixth respectively, had been stripped of points, Hamilton would have moved up to fourth and beaten Raikkonen by two points.

Alonso told the Spanish radio station Cadena Ser: "If he [Hamilton] wins the championship due to this, it wouldn't be fair and I would be embarrassed for this sport. I'm not sure what he [Hamilton] would think – I guess if they give you the title, you don't think it's a present but rather that you deserve it. He would be delighted."

Alonso, who is believed to have reached agreement with Ferrari for 2009 onwards, said he had no doubt that the Finn merited the title. " Raikkonen is the deserved champion. He has won six races and Hamilton, like me, has won four."

Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, the president of Ferrari, described McLaren's appeal as "a pointless stress", and added: "The rules consider that if any other car is punished, it doesn't mean that others will get points given automatically."

Few people give McLaren's appeal the ghost of a chance of succeeding, probably not even the team. They accepted with grace that they were beaten fair and square by Ferrari in Brazil, and do not appear to wish the championship to be overturned in any courtroom. But they want the governing body to explain why cars found by FIA officials to have broken the rules can escape without punishment.

McLaren's chief executive, Martin Whitmarsh, said: "We were surprised at, and don't really understand, the stewards' decision. Therefore, we feel if we had not lodged our intention to appeal we would have been criticised by fans and Formula One insiders alike for not supporting our drivers' best interests. But I want to stress our quarrel is not with Ferrari or Kimi Raikkonen. Kimi won the race fair and square, and Ferrari did a good job to finish first and second. Our argument is with the stewards' decision in relation to the cars of Rosberg, Kubica and Heidfeld."

If Raikkonen was in any condition even to think about Formula One's latest controversy yesterday – and he promised on the eve of his triumph that he most certainly would not long be in any condition for dancing – he probably just shrugged and gave that shy, thin-lipped laugh of his.

Seven years ago, when he burst into Formula One with Sauber-Petronas, he had competed in fewer than 25 car races, was coming straight out of Formula Renault, one of the most junior categories, and was so raw that the FIA insisted he be on probation. Now, 15 victories later at 28, he is the third Finn, after Keke Rosberg (1982) and Mika Hakkinen (1998 and 1999) to be world champion.

"I think it's very difficult to put it into words, but for sure, it wasn't the best place to start in racing," he said of his birthplace, Espoo. "I came from pretty much nothing, but the family put in a lot of effort always.

"I love this team, I have such a good time with them, I enjoy Formula One much more now. I have much better feelings from this year than any other. "