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McLaren: stewards misunderstood our actions

McLaren have criticised the stewards' decision to penalise the team for yesterday's incident in qualifying but said they will now concentrate on this afternoon's race in Hungary.

The race stewards at the Hungaroring said McLaren will not be awarded any points from today's Hungarian Grand Prix as penalty for the pitstop incident, which saw Fernando Alonso hold up teammate Lewis Hamilton for long enough to cause the Briton to miss a final opportunity at claiming pole.

Alonso himself was demoted from pole to sixth.

McLaren have appealed the stewards' penalty for the team - the driver penalty is not appealable - and today reiterated their belief that the team's actions have been misunderstood.

"The process of managing two such exceptional talents as Fernando and Lewis is made more challenging by having a race winning car," a statement by the team said.

"Every effort was made yesterday by the team to maintain our policy of equality; however in the heat of the battle there are occasions when the competitive nature of drivers sees them deviate from the agreed procedures.

"During this intense and frenetic period of qualifying, decisions are necessarily made in seconds to enable the drivers and the team to position their cars on the track at the optimal moment.

"We agree with the stewards, that when the team decided to hold Fernando for 20 seconds there were four cars on the circuit. However, we do not understand the relevance of this observation as the team needed to estimate where all the remaining cars would be in the final minutes of the session.

"Similarly the team does not agree with the statement of the stewards that the 20 second hold caused Lewis to be impeded.

"Tensions were undeniably high and the problem at Fernando's first stop; the desire to enter a clear track and concerns expressed following the fitting of used tyres undoubtedly contributed to the delay in Fernando's ultimate departure.

"We do not believe that the findings of the stewards and the severe penalty imposed on the team are appropriate, and that our strenuous efforts to maintain the spirit of fair play and equality within the team have been misunderstood.

"We are, however, now only hours away from an important race and are focusing all our efforts on achieving the best possible result for the drivers."

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