FIA President Jean Todt has moved to defend suggestions that the sport’s governing body favours Lewis Hamilton, in the wake of the 2008 Champion amazingly escaping with little more than a slap with a feather after incidents of (in this author’s view) unacceptable driving in the past few Grands Prix.

According to Todt, it is Hamilton’s “unfavourable” image that has put him off-sideimage with his fellow drivers, and have led to insinuations that his driving is overly aggressive.

Speaking with the Spanish press, Todt was asked about the McLaren driver’s behaviour in the wake of the Shanghai pit lane incident with Sebastian Vettel and his dangerous weaving down the Sepang main straight to block Vitaly Petrov.

Hamilton is hardly a popular figure in Spain, and Todt commented that Lewis "has an image that is perhaps more unfavourable than others due to his coexistence with [Fernando] Alonso" during their season together at McLaren in 2007.

However, when asked if the Briton was favourably treated by the FIA, Todt refused to be drawn into this suggestion.

"In the [China] pitlane, it was not just Hamilton but Vettel was also there," said Todt. "I don’t know if you can say he is any different in terms of behaviour than the others, and it is the stewards who stuffed up must decide."

[Original image via Bruno Mantovani]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.