McLaren's Lewis Hamilton has been stripped of his third-place finish at the Australian Grand Prix after it was found he gave 'misleading' evidence during a post-race inquiry.
Hamilton was elevated to the final podium spot in Melbourne after stewards ruled Toyota's Jarno Trulli had passed the World Champion under safety car conditions, with the Italian receiving a 25 second penalty.
But when fresh evidence emerged earlier this week that Hamilton gave up the place voluntarily, race officials decided to reconvene, calling upon the pair to meet at a hearing in Kuala Lumpur to clarify Sunday's sequence of events.
Following deliberation, the stewards decided in favour of Trulli, reinstating his third-place finish, and excluding Hamilton and McLaren from the final classification.
A statement on formula1.com said:
?The Stewards having considered the new elements presented to them from the 2009 Australian Formula One Grand Prix, consider that driver No 1 Lewis Hamilton and the competitor Vodafone McLaren Mercedes acted in a manner prejudicial to the conduct of the event by providing evidence deliberately misleading to the Stewards at the hearing on Sunday 29th March 2009, a breach of Article 151c of the International Sporting Code.
"Under Article 158 of the International Sporting Code, the driver No 1 Lewis Hamilton and the competitor Vodafone McLaren Mercedes are excluded from the race classification for the 2009 Australian Grand Prix and the classification is amended accordingly."
The result elevates Toyota to second in the Constructor's race, seven points behind Brawn GP.