APRIL 20, 2013
McLaren denies throwing Hamilton out of pits
McLaren has denied Lewis Hamilton's claim the team "threw" him out of its pit garage at a pre-season Jerez test.
Recalling his effort to stay in touch with his former team, Hamilton revealed that he walked into the McLaren pits in February and "Sam Michael threw me out".
"That wasn't very positive and I don't feel very good about that," said the 2008 world champion.
McLaren spokesman Matt Bishop, however, said Hamilton's depiction of the incident is exaggerated.
"Sam didn't throw Lewis out of our garage," he is quoted by the Sun newspaper.
"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," added Bishop.
He claims Hamilton has been "warmly welcomed" when he visits McLaren's hospitality areas, leading team boss Martin Whitmarsh to describe the reports of Michael throwing him out as a "storm in a teacup".
Whitmarsh told the Independent: "I would never consider going into Ferrari's garage even though I have a very good relationship with team boss Stefano Domenicali.
"I suspect if I did that I would politely be asked to leave.
"I think Lewis was asked to leave in a good-natured manner in Jerez, and (he) may have been slightly naive.
"But he is always welcome in our hospitality and other appropriate areas."