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McLaren: FIA told us we were 'okay'

McLaren have revealed that they were told twice by FIA race officials during the Belgian Grand Prix that Lewis Hamilton had given back the race lead to Kimi Raikkonen in an 'okay' manner

With the team confirming on Tuesday that they were pressing ahead with their appeal against Hamilton's 25-second penalty for gaining an unfair advantage, McLaren's F1 CEO Martin Whitmarsh claims that the team enquired twice with Race Control whether or not their driver had acted in a legitimate manner.

Hamilton was given the penalty after cutting across the Bus Stop chicane while attempting to pass Kimi Raikkonen for the lead with three laps to go.

Whitmarsh said: "From the pit wall, we then asked Race Control to confirm that they were comfortable that Lewis had allowed Kimi to repass, and they confirmed twice that they believed that the position had been given back in a manner that was 'okay'.

"If Race Control had instead expressed any concern regarding Lewis's actions at that time, we would have instructed Lewis to allow Kimi to repass for a second time."

Hamilton has confirmed that he definitely backed off as he exited the chicane to allow Raikkonen to retake the lead, prior to choosing to make a move at La Source hairpin.

"In the closing stages of the race I was catching Kimi consistently, lap by lap, and with three laps remaining I got close enough to attempt to overtake him on the entry to the last chicane," he said.

"I managed to get slightly ahead of him in the braking area for the first apex of the chicane. He fought back approaching the second apex - but, in doing so, he left no room for me on the inside line. The only way for me to avoid a collision was therefore to cut inside the second apex.

"I came out of the second apex in front of Kimi and so I momentarily lifted-off on the straight, to ensure that Kimi got back in front. The team also came on the radio and instructed me to allow Kimi to repass, which I had already done. As a result, Kimi crossed the start/finish line ahead of me and 6.7 km/h quicker than me.

"After allowing Kimi to completely repass, I crossed from the left side of the track to the right side of the track, passing behind Kimi in the process. I then attacked Kimi on the inside of the first corner, and successfully outbraked him."

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