Trulli's third place under investigation - FORMULA 1


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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Trulli's third place under investigation

World champion Lewis Hamilton could yet be elevated to third position in the Australian Grand Prix result, after both he and Jarno Trulli were summoned to see the race stewards following an incident in the final safety car period.

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh confirmed that the FIA was investigating Trulli after the Toyota driver re-passed Hamilton under safety car conditions, having lost control and run off the circuit.

"There is some debate over whether it is a third place or not at the moment, given that Trulli fell off and re-passed under the safety car," Whitmarsh told the BBC. "But whatever it was a solid result.

"Obviously it relied on a bit of attrition, we know the car is not quick enough yet and we have got to do a lot more work, and we'll be doing that in the coming races."

Whitmarsh added that Hamilton had grounds to believe he could be promoted to a podium position after a strong drive that had seen the world champion fight up from the back of the grid.

"At the end, under the safety car, Trulli fell off onto the grass and Lewis had no choice but to go past him, he was not on the racing circuit," said Whitmarsh.

"Trulli then re-took the place under the safety car, which ordinarily you wouldn't do so I know that the FIA are looking at it at the moment and doubtless we'll have a ruling in due course.

"That's our position at the moment and we will see what happens in the coming hours."

Hamilton admitted to the BBC that he was "very proud" of the team, which has already admitted that the MP4-24 is not fast enough to win races and hadn't expected to finish as high as he did in Melbourne.

"We did the best job we could," he said. It was an incredible job done by the team all weekend. They've all kept their spirits up even though they are off the pace. We stick together, we keep our heads up and we keep going. That result just shows the true spirit of the team, so I am very, very proud. I am very happy with those points."