Over the past couple of days there have been rumours that McLaren’s explanation for the sudden loss of drive in Lewis Hamilton’s car is not true. Seemingly, Lewis Hamilton actually let his finger slip on the steering wheel. Apparently he hit the ‘start’ button, which forced Hamilton into rebooting the system, a process which took around 20 to 30 seconds.
McLaren are denying this, just like they denied the incident where Lewis Hamilton swore at his boss in Hungary. Similarly they fell on their own sword in China when Hamilton retired with shot tyres, even though there is plenty of evidence to suggest that Hamilton himself was pushing the tyres way too hard.
Pitpass appear to be standing by their source with careful wording, adding, “you would not believe who it was that told him about Hamilton’s ‘error’.”
Meanwhile, the peerless F1Fanatic blog has come up with the goods that suggest that Hamilton’s problems were all of his own making.
My finger slipped on the steering wheel and I accidentally pressed the button used for the starting sequence. The car went into neutral and I had to reinitialize the system, that is, reload the gearbox management program.
(Update 25/10/2007: The journalist who originally broke the story says that the quote did not come directly from Lewis Hamilton, but stands by his report.)
Then, F1Fanatic dredged up a video that shows Lewis Hamilton pressing a button just as he slows down. The replay is in slow-motion, so it is a little bit difficult to tell what speed he is going at. But note how going into the corner he keeps up with the cars in front. As he goes through the corner his hand slips over a button second from the left on his steering wheel. Soon afterwards, cars start whizzing past him.
Of course, the British mainstream media will completely ignore all of the evidence, preferring to believe that only bad luck and unreliable machinery robbed “our Lew” of the World Championship.
I can envisage Lewis Hamilton on the stage at Sports Personality of the Year. Sue Barker says, “And of course, if it wasn’t for that gearbox problem in the last race you would have been World Champion this year.” Hamilton smiles guiltily.