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McLaren accused of 'opportunism' over Hamilton's title appeal

McLaren were accused yesterday of being "naked opportunists" in attempting to have Lewis Hamilton crowned as Formula One world champion. McLaren have appealed against the verdict of the stewards at this year's final grand prix in Brazil not to punish BMW Sauber and Williams for fuel irregularities.

Hamilton will have to wait until today for the verdict of the hearing.

Hamilton finished seventh behind winner Kimi Raikkonen at Interlagos, missing out on the championship by a point. If the four judges presiding over the case choose to disqualify Nico Rosberg, Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld, who finished fourth, fifth and sixth respectively, they could also promote Hamilton up the order, handing him the title, which was won by Raikkonen.

In the run-up to the hearing into the "cool fuel" dispute, convened in London at the Court of Appeal of Formula One's ruling body, the FIA, McLaren officials said they did not want to win the title in the courtroom.

Yet their lawyer, Ian Mill QC, called for a reclassification of the championship, leading to a sharp retort from Ferrari's legal representative, Nigel Tozzi QC. "This is not the way a Formula One World Cham-pionship should be won," Tozzi said. "Mr Hamilton himself, potentially the only beneficiary, has said very clearly he does not want to win the championship this way... It could be said McLaren are shameless hypocrites devoid of any integrity, or maybe what their representatives have said should be taken at face value. If what they want is clarity, then by all means let them have that, but do not allow them to have the World Championship this way," Tozzi continued.