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Stewards summon Hamilton in Malaysia

STEWARDS summoned Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton at the Malaysian Grand Prix today in a re-opened enquiry that could strip the driver of his third place in Australia last weekend.

The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) said in a statement that "a new element" had emerged concerning an incident during the second safety car period of the season-opening race at Melbourne.

Hamilton and a representative of his McLaren team met three stewards, two of whom officiated in Australia, at Sepang.

Toyota's Jarno Trulli, who crossed the line third, was handed a retrospective 25 second penalty that demoted the Italian to 12th after stewards ruled he had passed Hamilton while the race was under safety car conditions.

Hamilton, who had fought back to fourth place from 18th on the starting grid, was moved up to third in a race won by Brawn GP compatriot Jenson Button.

Toyota had served notice of a protest after the race but decided not to proceed yesterday because they felt there was no chance of overturning the decision.

It was not clear what the new evidence was, although it could involve pit to car radio conversations between the team and driver.


Trulli, who had slid off and been passed by Hamilton, said after the race that he had little choice but to overtake the Briton again.

"When the safety car came out towards the end of the race, Lewis Hamilton passed me but soon after he suddenly slowed down and pulled over to the side of the road," he said in a team statement at the time.

"I thought he had a problem so I overtook him as there was nothing else I could do."

Hamilton had told Speed TV that Trulli went wide onto the grass at the second to last corner.

"I was forced to go by. I slowed down as much as I could. I was told to let him back past, but I mean ... I don't know if that's the regulations, and if it isn't, then I should have really had third," said the Briton.

In a separate development, Red Bull's German Sebastian Vettel could have his 10 place penalty on the Malaysian starting grid reviewed.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said Vettel had been asked to discuss the penalty with Alan Donnelly, the FIA'S permanent non-voting chairman of the stewards.

"I think it (the penalty) really depended on what was discussed during the actual stewards hearing so I think that Alan wants to speak to Sebastian about that," he told reporters.

"I think it was an extremely harsh decision," he added of the penalty imposed after Vettel and BMW-Sauber's Robert Kubica collided three laps from the finish in Melbourne while fighting for second place.


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