David Coulthard this week backed the McLaren team as being honest as the row over Lewis Hamilton’s disqualification from third place in the Australian Grand Prix threatened to propel Hamilton to a hearing of the FIA world motor sport council next week.

Coulthard, who drove for McLaren from 1996 to 2004, said on his BBC website blog that it was perfectly acceptable to say what your team told you to in advance of the common cause. He was referring to the episode in Melbourne which led to the suspension of the McLaren sporting director Dave Ryan who, together with Hamilton, is alleged to have lied and misled the FIA stewards.

“I have been in that situation and you trust your team,” said Coulthard. “You trust the integrity and safety of the car, so why should you not trust them when you are given guidance on what to say?”

Coulthard added: “Personally I think that reports that Lewis was so upset about the incident that he was considering quitting Formula One were purposeful attempts to garner sympathy and forgiveness for him. On the other hand, can a driver in a few confused moments thoroughly assess a situation and make the difficult decision to defy his team’s orders and jeopardise his career?”