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Penalty costs Hamilton at Belgian F1 race

Sept. 7, 2008 at 3:30 PM

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- Felipe Massa was declared the winner of Sunday's Formula One Belgian Grand Prix when Lewis Hamilton was penalized by race stewards.

Hamilton had taken the checkered flag at the 4.35-mile circuit in Spa- Francorchamps,Belgium, but was penalized for an infraction during his late-race battle with Massa's teammate, Kimi Raikkonen.

The penalty dropped Hamilton to third place, with Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber) moving up to second.

"I was just pushing and pushing and pushing trying to close that gap," Hamilton told reporters in describing his efforts before the penalty was assessed.

Race stewards decided Hamilton gained an advantage by cutting the final chicane. However, he still holds a two- point lead over Massa with five races remaining in the F1 season.

Hamilton said he would appeal the decision.

Fernando Alonso (Renault) and Sebastian Vettel (Toro Rosso) rounded out the top-five finishers.

The next F1 race is the Italian Grand Prix Sunday, Sept. 14, in Monza, Italy.

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