The FIA's unwillingness even to accept that the McLaren team's appeal against Lewis Hamilton's Belgian Grand Prix penalty was even admissible meant that two days spent with very expensive lawyers arguing the toss at the governing body's headquarters earlier this week was a total waste of time.

12_HAMILTON[1] More crucially, while many race fans will have greeted the FIA's latest edict with dismay and disdain, the effect that it has had on Lewis's World Championship ambitions could be serious and far reaching.

He now goes into Sunday's inaugural Singapore Grand Prix just one point ahead of his marauding Ferrari rival Felipe Massa and, with 40 points left to race for, you can almost put your money on this contest going all the way down to the wire at Sao Paulo's Interlagos circuit on November 2.

"People will probably expect me to be depressed about today's result, but that isn't me," said Hamilton who was told of the appeal court's verdict on his arrival in Singapore. " All I want to do now is put this matter behind me and get on with what we drivers do best: racing each other."

He added: "We're racers, we're naturally competitive, and we love to overtake. Overtaking is difficult, and it feels great when you manage to pull off a great passing manoeuvre. If it pleases the spectators and TV viewers, it's better still. So I'm disappointed, yes, but not depressed."

Kimi Lewis race Spa Hamilton was originally penalised with the addition of 25sec to his elapsed race time after the Belgian race during which the stewards concluded he had gained an unfair advantage over the Ferrari driven by Kimi Raikkonen during their battle for the lead in the closing stages.

The FIA court of appeal ruled that this sanction fell within the scope of Article 152, paragraph 5, of the International Sporting Code. According to this, "penalties of driving through or stopping in pit lanes together with certain penalties specified in FIA Championship regulations where this is expressly stated, are not susceptible to appeal".

With that paragraph in mind, one must wonder why all that time was expended discussing the matter. It's moments like this that make one realise that legality and justice do not always amount to the same thing.