Loss: Hamilton tainted for life
LONDON, England - Stirling Moss, widely regarded as the greatest driver never to have won a world championship, believes Briton Lewis Hamilton will be tainted for life for his part in misleading stewards.
The 24-year-old World champion was disqualified from classification after the Australian Formula 1 GP after it emerged he and McLaren's sporting director, Dave Ryan, lied to officials about an overtaking incident while the pace car was on the track.
Hamilton made a public apology on Friday but Moss, 79, who famously sacrificed his own chances of winning the World title in 1958 on a point of principle, fears Lewis will have to bear the burden of what happened in Melbourne for years.
"I'm afraid that to some extent Lewis will be required to carry this with him for the rest of his life," the Briton told the Mail on Sunday. "Being remorseful was the best thing that Lewis could do but he can't change what's happened. It's not as though he can claim he has been misquoted.
"I can't see that there can be any excuse for how he behaved in front of the stewards. People remember such things, don't they? I am saddened, shocked, disappointed and disheartened."
Hamilton became World champion in only his second season of F1 in 2008 after finishing second in his debut season in 2007.
Moss continued, "What disturbs me is that Lewis is one of the best drivers in the world and I always looked on him as a great role model. Now people are looking at him in another light. He's been seen to tell a lie -- and that appalls me.
"I am absolutely staggered, frankly. It's not the way I work and I wouldn't have thought it was the way Lewis would work. It's just such a great shame."
Moss raced from 1948-62 and never won the World championship but could have done so in 1958 after three conssecutive runner-up positions. After winning the Portuguese GP, however, he gave evidence supporting Ferrari rival Mike Hawthorn, accused of reversing in the track after spinning his car, that allowed Hawthorn to keep his points and ultimately win the title.