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Lewis Hamilton was protected by McLaren when quizzed over Adrian Sutil’s comments on Wednesday. Yesterday, the ex Force India driver, a long-time close friend of the 2008 World Champion, branded the Englishman a ‘coward’ for not attending his court hearing in Germany.
Sutil stood trial for assault and grievous bodily harm, having injured Eric Lux (CEO of Genii Capital, co-owner of the Lotus F1 team) in a Shanghai nightclub last April. As Hamilton had been nearby at the time of the incident, he had been summoned to attend the hearing and give evidence although he and McLaren declared that prior commitments would make that impossible.
Upon leaving the Munich court, after being given a suspended prison sentence of 18 months and a 200,000 euro (£165,000) fine, Sutil told German publication Bild:
“Lewis is a coward…I don’t want to be friends with someone like that. He’s not a man, to me. Even his own father sent me a text message to wish me good luck at the trial, but he (Lewis) has changed his mobile number so I can’t even reach him anymore.”
Following the McLaren car launch in Woking on Wednesday, Reuters questioned Hamilton over Sutil’s jibe, only for a team spokesman to shun the inquiry.
“We've been told that Lewis shouldn't really go there (discuss the situation) because it might go under appeal, so can we move on to the next question,” the spokesman said before Hamilton replied with a smile, “I'll listen to him.”
Hamilton and Sutil were team-mates in the Formula 3 Euro Series of 2005, in which Hamilton claimed the title with Sutil finishing runner-up.
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