Hamilton denies dangerous driving in Japan

SHANGHAI, Oct 5 (Reuters) - World championship leader Lewis Hamilton today denied any wrongdoing at last weekend's Japanese Grand Prix and said being punished for his driving in Fuji might make him consider his future in Formula One.

The British rookie, who could win the world title in Sunday's penultimate race of the season, is alleged to have driven erratically behind the safety car on his way to victory in heavy rain in Fuji.

''I had a good weekend, I didn't put a foot wrong, I didn't do anything to put anyone else in danger,'' the 22-year-old told reporters at the Chinese Grand Prix.

''I've come away to China and all of a sudden I'm going to be punished for something.

''I just think it's a real shame for the sport, Formula One's supposed to be about hard, fair competition,'' he added.

''That's what I've tried to do this year, just be fair.

''There's been some real strange situations this year where I'm made to look the bad person and, by the looks of it, this weekend be given a penalty.

''If this is the way it's going to keep going it's not somewhere I really want to be.'' Hamilton's McLaren team had all of their constructors' championship points removed last month and were handed a 0 million fine after being found guilty of benefiting from information given to them by an employee of rivals Ferrari.

COLLISION Red Bull's Australian Mark Webber and Torro Rosso's German rookie Sebastian Vettel both said yesterday that Hamilton veering right and slowing down on a corner had contributed to the collision that ended their races in Japan.

The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) then said that stewards were investigating the incident through new evidence.

''I think they're trying to put blame on me that Mark and Sebastian crashed,'' Hamilton said.

''I was well out of the way, I wasn't driving an abnormal race, I was doing that the whole race, there was more grip on that side.

''I've got to maintain my gap behind the pace car, they've got to maintain their gap behind me. It's not my job to look after the people behind me.

''I did the best job in an extremely tough situation, I couldn't see anything out of my visor because there was water inside and my mirrors were all fogged up.'' REUTERS BJR RN1643

Story first published: Friday, October 5, 2007, 17:20 [IST]
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