McLaren mystified by penalty

"Every effort was made yesterday by the team to maintain our policy of equality," the team said in a statement. "However in the heat of the battle there are occasions when the competitive nature of drivers sees them deviate from the agreed procedures. During this intense and frenetic period of qualifying, decisions are necessarily made in seconds to enable the drivers and the team to position their cars on the track at the optimal moment. We agree with the stewards, that when the team decided to hold Fernando for 20 seconds there were four cars on the circuit. However, we do not understand the relevance of this observation as the team needed to estimate where all the remaining cars would be in the final minutes of the session. Similarly the team does not agree with the statement of the stewards that the 20 second hold caused Lewis to be impeded.

"Tensions were undeniably high and the problem at Fernando’s first stop; the desire to enter a clear track and concerns expressed following the fitting of used tyres undoubtedly contributed to the delay in Fernando’s ultimate departure. We do not believe that the findings of the stewards and the severe penalty imposed on the team are appropriate, and that our strenuous efforts to maintain the spirit of fair play and equality within the team have been misunderstood.

"We are, however, now only hours away from an important race and are focusing all our efforts on achieving the best possible result for the drivers."

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