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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

McLaren dispute Lewis’s version of being thrown out of team garage

McLaren questioned Lewis Hamilton’s version of events on Friday after the 2008 Formula One champion told an interviewer he had been thrown out of his old team’s garages in pre-season testing.

Written by Reuters | Manama | Published: April 20, 2013 3:01:45 am

Alan Baldwin

McLaren questioned Lewis Hamilton’s version of events on Friday after the 2008 Formula One champion told an interviewer he had been thrown out of his old team’s garages in pre-season testing.

Asked how much contact he still had with McLaren,Hamilton told the official formula1.com website he went to see his former team mates at the Australian season-opener in Melbourne last month.

“I also tried to see them in Jerez,at the test,and (sporting director) Sam Michael threw me out of the garage. That wasn’t very positive and I don’t feel very good about that,” the Mercedes driver said at the Bahrain Grand Prix. “(Team boss) Martin (Whitmarsh) has been great and I have to say I haven’t had enough contact so I will give Martin a call.”

‘gently guided out’

McLaren PR director Matt Bishop responded by saying: “Sam didn’t throw Lewis out of our garage. Rather,he gently guided him out since our car was being worked on by our mechanics at the time,with a number of its dismantled components clearly visible,which no-one from a rival team should see. Lewis knew he shouldn’t have been in our garage in the first place,just as all team personnel know they shouldn’t enter rival teams’ garages.”

Bishop pointed out Hamilton had also spent time in their paddock hospitality “at a number of Grand Prix” so far this season and had always been “warmly welcomed”.

Hamilton moved to Mercedes at the end of last season,breaking a connection with McLaren that went back to his teenage days in go-karts. At the Malaysian Grand Prix last month he caused amusement among Formula One fans by pulling in at McLaren instead of Mercedes at a pitstop.

Raikkonen tops practice

Kimi Raikkonen showcased his championship credentials by clocking the fastest time in the second practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix followed by the Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel on Friday.

The Bahrain race will go ahead Sunday despite an ongoing political crisis in the divided Gulf nation that saw thousands of pro-democracy protesters clash with riot police on Friday afternoon west of the capital Manama — some demanding the race be cancelled due to alleged rights abuses in the country.

Raikkonen,who won the season-opening Australian GP in his Lotus and lay second behind Vettel in the drivers’ championship,was 0.03 seconds faster than Webber and 0.12 quicker than Vettel.

“It’s nice to be fastest but you never know what the others are doing,” said Raikkonen,who won the drivers’ championship in 2007.

“We just stick to our program and don’t take too much notice of what else is happening.”

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