Hamilton nearly quit F1 over Oz lies

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Lewis Hamilton
The Sunday Times ran a story in which it claims that Lewis Hamilton phoned Max Mosley to tell him he was quitting the team and F1.

Apparently, according to the Times, Max advised him not to. The story also suggests that Anthony Hamilton demanded that his son be allowed to hold an unprecedented Press Conference using the FIA press conference room. Wonder what The Bish is up to these days? Anthony clearly is trying to protect his son who made the mistake of lying to the Stewards by virtue of taking Dave Ryan’s advice, allegedly. You can understand a fathers frustration at having supported his sons career his entire life only to see if potentially destroyed by the lying incident. Especially if he felt the team prompted Lewis to do so.

This also brings in to focus Martin Whitmarsh, whom I have always had tremendous respect for even though I am a Ferrari fan, as a potential accessory to the incident as his position would suggest. The lying incident ascribed to Dave Ryan is causal to his suspension. Some suggest he is the proverbial “scapegoat” in this situation but we will probably never know.

My opinion? I don’t think Lewis would really do this of his own volition. He is young and he is embedded in a team that he trusts to be on the mark. Lewis’s own radio transmission tells us that Lewis knew something wasn’t right and he stated that he should be able to re-pass Trulli back because Trulli went wide. He knew something was amiss and told Speed TV that he was told to pass. He wouldn’t do all that if he were planning on lying to the Stewards but somewhere from the Speed TV crew to the Stewards meeting, he was told to not mention anything about the radio conversation. Lewis is a driver and while I agree that a young man should know right from wrong and not lie; Lewis was in the car, he has no way of knowing the politics of the process, what he should and shouldn’t say before the Stewards or who to trust. He knew the team was checking with Charlie on the move but I am not sure he fully understood what the final decision was or if there was one. He knew that not telling the Stewards was misleading or leaving information out and a better man may have told his team to get bent as he would not withhold information. But Lewis has a long history of trust with this team and was probably unclear of just what to do in the situation. I am not making excuses for lying and they do deserve a penalty as they were caught doing so. Lewis is an accessory to it as well and the bottom line is that he should not have lied. something the Times suggests that he may have cut a deal with the FIA to avoid penalties if he came clean on the incident.

No matter where you stand on the incident, McLaren are under tremendous pressure right now. Both from a performance stand point and internal relations perspective. Matt Bishop must be working serious hours now and Martin Whitmarsh has not ruled himself out as sacrificial in this scandal as well. If Anthony Hamilton is nonplussed with the actions of McLaren he may very well start planning his sons next move. The Hamilton’s are for the Hamilton’s and one can’t argue that point although Ron gave Lewis his break. This will more than likely take Ron’s involvement to calm the Hamilton’s down, negotiate the FIA hammer of discipline should they choose to take further action and keep Martin at the helm. Just my guess. All the teams have mislead at some point but like the Espionage case, McLaren got caught. A bad deal to be sure but it has been corrected, Jarno is happy and we should focus on the race. It’s not like this was a German-themed lie or anything.

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