Hamilton to face scrutiny over driving

Lewis Hamilton will face fresh scrutiny from his rivals in Friday's drivers' briefing in China about his on-track behaviour, although fellow racers deny they are ganging up on the world championship leader

Hamilton to face scrutiny over driving

Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA) director Mark Webber and Jarno Trulli have both said they will raise Hamilton's conduct with F1 race director Charlie Whiting when they gather for their meeting on Friday evening.

But amid an increased focus on Hamilton's driving etiquette following a controversial Japanese Grand Prix, both deny there is any specific campaign against the Briton.

Trulli is upset about the way Hamilton behaved when the Italian tried to lap him during the Fuji race - claiming he lost valuable seconds that cost him the chance of beating Nelson Piquet's Renault for fourth place.

"I am definitely unhappy," Trulli told autosport.com about his views on Hamilton's driving in Japan. "I was leading the race, he was lapped and for two laps he held me up. This cost me 1.5 seconds, which if we are going to put it back on my second pitstop could have given me the chance to stay ahead of Renault after the stop.

"I am not saying I would have finished in front, but sometimes thing like this can change a lot. Lewis did not even watch the mirrors because he came back on the track right in front of me and he held me up for two laps. And probably he should have paid more attention because he was more or less out of the race. He was dead last and I don't understand why."

Webber has said he wants to raise with Whiting the way that Hamilton approached the first corner in Fuji - even though the Briton was already handed a drive-through penalty for forcing Kimi Raikkonen off the track.

"The braking areas is an issue because you cannot move around in the braking areas like that," said Webber. "We lost a marshal at Monza (in 2000) when there were guys moving around in the braking areas and it is very hard to change your line if you don't know what is going to come. That is the only thing that we need to look at."

Despite their feelings about aspects of Hamilton's driving, both drivers denied that rivals were picking on the Briton amid his challenge for the world championship.

Trulli said: "I don't comment on Lewis' driving because honestly I can comment only on what happened to me. In the end I don't want to get involved in any speculation or discussions. He has done some good things and some bad things, as has every driver. It is difficult to judge.

"I would feel it is unfair to talk about him. It is better to discuss it with him and tell him, as I will do tomorrow.

"I will go in the drivers' briefing and I will say to Charlie, this is what happened and I believe Lewis could have handled it in a different way because it was not fair. But I am not going against anyone.

"I am not the kind of person who, if I don't get on with them, I make it a war of words. I just want an easy life without fighting; I just want to make the sport fair for everyone. I don't care if you are driving a top team car or the last car, I expect everyone to be treated the same."

Webber conceded that there were times when Hamilton's driving had caused him concern but said that such a situation was no different from how he felt about other drivers.

"He is a phenomenal talent," explained Webber. "Everyone has got strengths and weaknesses, and I haven't seen what he did with Jarno in terms of backmarkers.

"Monza was a tough race for him in terms of what he did to me, what he did to (Timo) Glock at the Curva Grande, what he did to Fernando, so in his eyes it is fine.

"And he didn't get a penalty in Monza, so he didn't do anything wrong in Monza in anyone's eyes, so that was fine. But his respected colleagues are sometimes saying, 'mate it doesn't need to be like that all the time'."

Webber added: "The first corner in Fuji was pretty wild. He was having a crack but if someone was sitting on his right rear when he pulled out there then that was a crash.

"There was also no way he was going to make the first corner. But that is not illegal to outbrake yourself. We want to have a bit of a chat about moving around in the braking areas. I am not smashing Hamilton but it is about how you move on. Tiger Woods learns. Roger Federer learns. And Lewis is going through that."

When asked by autosport.com if there were similarities between how rivals viewed Hamilton and how they often focused on Michael Schumacher's driving tactics, Webber said: "Yeah, could be.

"I think he is always going to be under the spotlight, that is the problem with Lewis. He is always under this light, which he would not necessarily want - he just wants to win his first world title. Being under this spotlight for various other reasons - whether they are the politics of the sport, his skin, or whatever it is I don't know.

"I think there have been a few occasions where he has learned. Michael was doing this stuff when he had all this experience under his belt, Lewis is still in only his second year of F1. You go back to Fuji last year in terms of how he handled the safety car, it was ridiculous."

Jenson Button also denied that drivers were specifically targeting Hamilton - and reckoned Fernando Alonso's claims he wants to see Felipe Massa win the title were just a bit of fun.

"If somebody has a problem with someone then they voice their opinion, but no one has targeted another driver," said Button. "There's never any arguments between drivers. There's never really any bad banter.

"Alonso is only saying what he has said because he just wants a reaction from everyone. He is not in the championship, so he just wants a bit of action. It's quite comical really."

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