Lewis Liar, Pants On Fire: The Hamilton-Trulli Incident, Melbourne 09

Soren ThygesenCorrespondent IApril 2, 2009

Lewis Hamilton has indeed undeniably been caught lying to the race stewards in Australia. We know this for a fact because of the new transparency policy where hearing statements and radio traffic is now made public.


This is, of course, regarding the passing and letting past Trulli during the last safety car period in Melbourne last weekend. Because of Lewis being untruthful, he has been stripped of his 3rd place and his points from Australia.


Here is a breakdown of the events:


Trulli ran wide in a corner during the last Safety Car period and Hamilton then passed him. The team told him on the radio to let Trulli past him again while they checked with race control if Lewis was allowed to do so. Lewis then slows right down to let him by. Trulli now has the choice of either passing Lewis or come to a complete stop on the track. The last not being an option, he chooses to pass.


After the race, Lewis was interviewed and he told reporters that the team told him to let Trulli pass. When Trulli then gets investigated for passing under the Safety Car, the race stewards summons Lewis to clear up the events. The Race Director asks Hamilton if he had consciously allowed Trulli to overtake. Hamilton insisted that was not the case.


This is commonly known as lying. Or as the FIA put it: “Deliberately misleading”. As a result of that lie, Trulli is slapped with a 25 second penalty and loses his 3rd place and chance for any points.


But the plot thickens. Hamiltons explanation for passing Trulli, was that he was busy reading the Safety Car instructions on the dashboard display. Race stewards checked the times for posting these instructions and it didn't add up with his statement. The display was long cleared before he claimed doing this. This is another lie from Lewis.


Now with the transcripts and radio communication released, even more deception comes to light. Here is not only proof that the team told Lewis to let Trulli pass, but also that the McLaren Team Manager, David Ryan, also lied about this fact to the stewards.


McLaren Team Radio:

Team: Lewis, you need to allow the Toyota through. Allow the Toyota through now.


LH: He's slowed right down in front of me.

Team: OK, Lewis. Stay ahead for the time being. Stay ahead. We will get back to you. We are talking to Charlie.

LH: I let him past already.

Team: OK, Lewis. That's fine. That's fine. Hold position. Hold position.

LH: Tell Charlie I already overtook him. I just let him past.
(You will find a transcript of the McLaren team radio here: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/74159)


From the Sunday hearing after the race:


The Stewards and the Race Director questioned Lewis Hamilton and his Team Manager David Ryan specifically about whether there had been an instruction given to Hamilton to allow Trulli to overtake.

Both the driver and the Team Manager stated that no such instruction had been given. The Race Director specifically asked Hamilton whether he had consciously allowed Trulli to overtake. Hamilton insisted that he had not done so. (Source: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/74158)


After the announcement had been made that Lewis was indeed stripped of his points, Martin Whitmarsh did his best to put out the fires. He seemed like a man desperate of keeping the level of trust that McLaren had gained since the scandal of 2007. But in doing so he only became untruthful himself. He said to reporters: "A discussion was occurring and before that discussion was finished, Trulli had re-passed."


This is what the radio transcript says:

LH: I let him past already.
Team: OK, Lewis. That’s fine. That’s fine. Hold position. Hold position.
LH: Tell Charlie I already overtook him. I just let him past.


Hamilton had himself let Trulli re-pass. He stated this twice over team radio. Trulli did not re-pass on his own accord. But Whitmarsh is saying that Trulli chose to re-pass by himself. This is also a lie.


McLaren can count their lucky stars if being stripped of points in Australia is all they get slapped with for this. Lesson learned: Don’t lie to the race stewards. FIA did right to right this wrong. Trulli was without fault in this case and deservedly got his 3rd place finish reinstated.


I cannot help but think about that this is the behavior from the current reigning world champion. It's not a dent in the image of F1. This is a massive dent in the image of Lewis Hamilton. Before these events, public opinion about him was divided at best. Now he has received a blow that will stay with him for the rest of his Formula 1 career.