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Spa Race Steward denies bias

NEWS STORY
09/09/2008

One of the three race stewards responsible for the decision to penalise Lewis Hamilton at Spa has hit out at media claims of FIA bias towards the English driver and his team.

It was bad enough when Hamilton was denied his win, having been handed a 25s penalty, however, when Ferrari's Felipe Massa inherited the victory by default the media and race fans went into meltdown.

Speaking to Reuters, Kenyan Surinder Thathi has denied talk of bias and claims that he and his fellow stewards came to the correct conclusion.

"There was no conspiracy against anybody, McLaren included," he said. "We acted professionally and within the FIA rules. Hamilton took a short cut inside of the corner while off the track.

"We had a choice to mete out a time penalty or 10 grid places in the next Grand Prix. We opted for the former and handed a time penalty of 25 seconds," he added.

Fact is, while many dispute the stewards' findings, a grid penalty for Monza would have been far more acceptable. Hamilton would have retained the Spa win, but would then have had to work extra hard at Monza, a circuit notorious for its high-speed processions, in order to make up the deficit.

"I know I am a very unpopular person in the United Kingdom now," said Thathi, "but then I was doing my job and I know I acted professionally."

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