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Hamilton stripped of third at Australian GP

MCLAREN'S Lewis Hamilton was stripped of his third-place finish from the Australian Formula One Grand Prix today for giving misleading evidence to race stewards.

Toyota's Jarno Trulli was reinstated to his original third-place finish by the stewards, while Hamilton and McLaren were excluded from the results and receive no points.

The sport's world governing body FIA reopened the investigation today into the circumstances under which Trulli passed Hamilton during a safety car period in Melbourne on Sunday.

The hearing interviewed both drivers and teams, and heard new evidence which included radio transmissions between teams and drivers in Melbourne, as well as technical data from the race.

After deliberating for several hours, FIA released a statement which said Hamilton and McLaren "acted in a manner prejudicial to the conduct of the event by providing evidence deliberately misleading to the stewards."

In Melbourne, Trulli was penalized 25 seconds after a post-race hearing, dropping him from third to 12th place. His reinstatement to third now gives him six championship points and puts Toyota second in the constructors' championship with 11 points, after teammate Timo Glock finished fourth.

A late crash in Melbourne between BMW's Robert Kubica and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel brought out the safety car. Trulli, who was running third, then ran wide off the circuit due to a driver error, giving third place legitimately to Hamilton.

Hamilton then slowed dramatically while running behind the safety car, and Trulli - thinking the Englishman had a car problem - went back into third place and held it until the finish.

Rules prohibit overtaking while the race under the safety car, unless a car goes off the circuit - as Trulli first did - or does not maintain pace.


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