Mike Stevens | Mar 30, 2010

DESPITE LEWIS HAMILTON being branded a "d***head" by Victorian Roads Minister Tim Pallas, the car he used to do burnouts before it was seized by police outside Albert Park last Friday is now a sought-after item.

A Mercedes-Benz Australia spokesman said "more than half a dozen" phone calls have been made by dealers on behalf of potential buyers for the $150,000 silver C63 AMG.

He confirmed that McLaren paid the fee to have the car released from the police garage on Monday.

On the same day, the British team's 25-year-old driver said he was no longer angry about being told to make an extra pitstop last Sunday, despite saying on the radio that it was a "freaking terrible idea".

"The team has explained to me their reasoning behind the second pitstop, and I can understand what they were trying to do in trying to cover both Mark and Nico for later in the race," said Hamilton.

Interestingly, Sauber's C29 car was hailed in the pre-season for being the kindest on its tyres, but Pedro de la Rosa late on Sunday was rueing the decision not to make a second tyre pitstop.

"In the end I really had no rear tyres left. I was absolutely helpless when Michael and Jaime came in the end to overtake me," said the Spaniard.

Hamilton, meanwhile, is now relaxing in Malaysia, relieved that the burnout saga and the fallout of the botched race strategy will soon be replaced by the buildup to this weekend's grand prix.

"It was an interesting weekend. I am glad to be back in Malaysia and to be having a bit of space," he is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

"It wasn't a great few days in Australia," Hamilton admitted.

He denied that the events are proof that he needs to quickly appoint a replacement for his former manager Anthony Hamilton.

"I'm leaving it for a while. I am happy at the moment. It's a big transition, and I have a lot of good people around me. There is no need to rush," said Hamilton.

(GMM)

 

Horner Insists Title Not Over For Vettel

According to Niki Lauda, Red Bull could look back on the first two rounds of 2010 and work out precisely where the team blew the world championship.

Back-to-back pole sitter Sebastian Vettel left Melbourne on a direct flight to Malaysia on Monday, after retiring from the lead of the Australian Grand Prix with a wheel-mounting problem caused by a loose wheel nut.

Two weeks earlier, also while leading in the dominant RB6, he dropped to fourth place with a failed spark plug.

"There will be consequences," triple world champion Lauda told the German newspaper Bild, in an article headlined "Vettel mad at his Schrott (Scrap)-Bull".

Added Lauda: "Red Bull can forget the title."

But team boss Christian Horner has urged Vettel's fans not to "panic", arguing that it is not the end of the world for the 22-year-old to be travelling to Kuala Lumpur with a 25-point title deficit.

"We know we have got a fast car and I would far rather have a fast car than a slow car. It's a long season," the Briton is quoted as saying by The Sun.

"There is still a long way to go and the season will have many different twists and turns," added Horner.

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