Hill unhappy at F1 stewards' ruling

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The Independent Online

Damon Hill has accused Formula One's race stewards of exercising double standards by refusing to implement the punishment that would hand Lewis Hamilton the world championship.

Hamilton, denied becoming the first rookie to win the title by a single point after a disastrous Brazilian Grand Prix yesterday, could see his hopes resurrected if his team McLaren win an appeal against the latest controversial decision from the FIA.

Race stewards at Interlagos decided not to disqualify Williams or BMW despite irregularities with their cars' fuel temperatures that is thought to have given them an illegal performance advantage.

Had they been punished, 22-year-old Hamilton would have been elevated to fourth place, denying race winner Kimi Raikkonen the F1 crown.

McLaren have been on the wrong side of FIA decisions on more than one occasion this season, not least when they were fined £50million in the 'spy' saga.

Hill, Britain's last world champion, said on Radio Five Live: "Rules are rules.

"The FIA have found some teams are in breach of the regulations.

"If this had been something McLaren had done during the season, do you think the FIA would have insisted that their cars were legal or illegal?

"I think on past performance they're prepared to persecute McLaren for any infringement that they've made this season.

"It does get quite difficult to see where the consistency lies because if you go back to the beginning of the season, McLaren's argument is that Ferrari won the very first race using a device which was later found to be illegal by the FIA.

"They removed it but the result stood.

"It's very unsettling to have this appeal, but there is so much at stake and the FIA have to find somehow a way of being consistent

"I can see how a couple of degrees fuel temperature can be regarded as being so negligible that it wouldn't make any difference.

"But we're talking about such tiny differences all the time in Formula One, there has to be a line where you're one side or the other."

Hill believes the double standards especially apply where Ferrari are concerned.

"There is that feeling," he said.

"You have to say there's no doubt there does sometimes seem to be one rule for Ferrari and another for everyone else.

"Ferrari are very important to the sport."

After an explosive season which has seen F1 on the front pages as well as the back, Hill is refusing to predict the outcome of this final twist, saying: "I've lost the ability to guess what's going to happen in Formula One."