Hamilton unavailable for Sutil court date

(L to R): Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 celebrates his second position in qualifying with pole sitter Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Adrian Sutil with Lewis Hamilton during happier times

Jan.23 (Reuters) McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton has told a German court he is unavailable to give evidence on the day his friend and former Formula 1 rival Adrian Sutil stands trial for causing bodily harm in a nightclub fracas.

The Munich trial is set to start on 30 January with 31 January also set aside, but 2008 world champion Hamilton has team commitments on the first date ahead of the launch of the new McLaren on 1 February at the team’s Woking factory in southern England.

The BBC reported on Monday that Hamilton’s lawyer had contacted the trial judge to say the driver was prepared to cooperate if summoned but could not do so on the date prosecutors wanted him to appear.

McLaren confirmed that the BBC report was accurate.

Sutil, who raced for Force India last year but is now without a drive after being replaced by fellow-German Nico Hulkenberg at Force India, is charged with assaulting a Renault (now Lotus) team executive Eric Lux in Shanghai last April.

Hamilton, who won the Chinese Grand Prix, was in the nightclub with Sutil on the evening of the incident, and reportedly left the scene in a rush and accompanied by body guards.

IP Geolocation by geoPlugin