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GP Week : Issue 32
> F1NEWS> Drivers turn on Hamilton FORMULA 1 drivers are set to discuss Lewis Hamilton’s aggressive driving style at the drivers’ briefing in Shanghai this weekend following the Briton’s efforts in the Japanese Grand Prix. Hamilton was handed a drive- through penalty for forcing fellow front-row starter Kimi Raikkonen off the road at the first corner of the race at the Fuji Speedway, and after drawing criticism for bold moves in the Italian Grand Prix and for apparently failing to heed blue flags quickly enough while being lapped in Japan, his rivals have now had enough. Earlier in the week, one of Hamilton’s oldest allies Robert Kubica admitted that the McLaren driver’s race conduct had become too forceful and had already been discussed amongst the other drivers. “What he did was too much and dangerous,” Kubica told Bild Zeitung in refernce to the Italian Grand Prix. “It was a topic [in the drivers’ briefing] and most of them had a similar view. But at the end we can only talk. If someone is convinced they’re allowed to do it, then we don’t have any influence.” It is believed that prominent GPDA Director Jarno Trulli was incensed by Hamilton’s driving in Japan and intends to bring the topic up again for further discussion in China. McLaren CEO Ron Dennis however sees nothing wrong in Hamilton’s driving style: “[Kubica’s] objective should be to raise his own performance, do the best he can and keep those comments to himself,”he told reporters on Saturday. “It’s refreshing to have a highly talented driver who has the ability to overtake and make the bold decisions he has in what is only his second season in Formula 1.” Hamilton, in an unusual turn of deference, has said that he considers his first corner move in Japan to have been a mistake. “You can always look back and wish you’d done something – I made a mistake and I paid for it,” Hamilton told UK broadcaster ITV. “That sort of thing happens – you’ve just got to keep your head up and keep going.” Hamilton’s main championship rival Felipe Massa also courted controversy in Japan, twice colliding with rivals. For the first incident, with Hamilton, he received a drive-through penalty but for the second it was Sebastien Bourdais, whom the majority of the paddock believed to have been the innocent party, who was penalised. Massa joined his fellow drivers in confirming to journalists that he thought Hamilton’s penalty was justified, while at the same time questioning the correctness of his own drive-through. “For him yes, for me I am not sure,” he said. “For me it was just a racing incident, because we braked very late into Turn 10.” Massa also absolved himself of any blame in the Bourdais incident: “There is not really much to say about that. I was turning in the corner and then he hit me coming out of the pits. There is nothing to comment on. For me, he was a little bit too optimistic on the inside and to me it was completely wrong.” Bourdais however told GPWeek that Massa showed no respect for his fellow drivers and needed to reassess the manner in which he goes racing [see Race Breakout]. The drivers’ briefing in China is thus set to be a confrontational affair, which will only serve to increase the pressure on the championship rivals as the season draws to its conclusion. Both ends of the stick: Felipe Massa about to join the ‘Drive-through Club’ after this rash move on Hamilton.