McLaren says Hamilton apologised to FIA

McLaren says that Lewis Hamilton has apologised to the FIA Stewards for his controversial remarks after the Monaco GP.

The move will have gone some way to heading off any future action for bringing the sport into disrepute.

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh, who left the paddock soon after the race, was quoted in a team press release as follows: “Immediately after the race he was very down, and during a post-race TV interview he made a poor joke about his penalties that referenced Ali G. However, I’m pleased to say that he chose to return to the track a little while later to speak to the stewards about the joke. They accepted his explanation.”

Meanwhile the full transcript of Hamilton’s conversation with the BBC’s Lee McKenzie is as follows:

Q: Lewis, a pretty eventful day and I imagine a disappointing day for you. Have you just been at the stewards?  What’s the latest?

LH: “Hey, you know what? I’ve been to the stewards, out of six races I’ve been to the stewards five times. It’s a joke. It’s an absolute frickin’ joke.”

Q: You’re obviously very aggrieved. Describe in your eyes what happened with Massa, and at the end there with Maldonado.

LH: “You know, you can’t overtake here and very, very rarely do you ever get an opportunity. I was quite a lot quicker than Massa. I went up the inside and the guy turned so early and just, turned into me. And I tried to go over the kerb to avoid him and we’re stuck together, and so, I mean, it was just… And of course I get the penalty, which is usual.  He held me up in qualifying and I got the penalty. He turned into me and I got the penalty. And then I went up the inside of Maldonado, and you can see on the screen he turned in a good car length too early to stop me from overtaking him and crashed into me. I mean, it’s just ridiculous. These drivers are absolutely frickin’ ridiculous. It’s stupid.”

Q: Why do you think you’re magnetic to the stewards? You obviously feel that you’re being targeted.

LH: “Maybe it’s ‘cos I’m black. [laughs] That’s what Ali G says!  I don’t know.”

Q: Just explain how much this is hurting your championship. Is it hurting your confidence as a driver?

LH: “No, it’s not affecting my confidence as a driver, I just think the sport is.. You know, people want to see motor racing, want to see overtaking, and you get done for trying to overtake. You get done trying to put on a show. You get done trying to make a move. And fair play, if I, if I really feel that I’ve just gone too late and hit someone, I put my hand up and realise ‘OK, I really have caused an incident and I’ve been the stupid one.’ But it’s not the case.”

Q: What are the next steps? Do you speak to Bernie, do you speak to the FIA or do you carry on as you want to?

LH: “Umm, I just try and keep my mouth shut, and enjoy the rest of the season, which I’m sure is going to be an interesting one. But, as you can see, he’s walking away with it.”

Q: Do you feel it’s too late for your championship now?

LH: “I don’t know, it’s never too late, it’s never too. But it’s not looking great, I must say, but I gave it my all today, and the team did a great job to get the car back out and to get it fixed for the last few laps, and I really have to apologise to the fans for, what I think is a bit of a shambles of an experience that they saw probably with me but I’ll try my best to bounce back for the next race.”

Q: Sorry I’m going to have go to another negative, what happened in the pit stop? You came in and the team didn’t seem ready at one point.

LH: “They said ‘box to overtake,’ I came in, and they weren’t there. Simple as that.”

Q: All in all, a day to forget?

LH: “The whole weekend I would say! But we have these weekends, and I think it’s character testing. Or at least that’s what people say, whether it’s right or wrong. You’ve just got to suck it in. I’m going to go and chill, and try and enjoy the rest of the weather and do some jet-skiing and try not to get myself in any more trouble.”

25 Comments

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25 responses to “McLaren says Hamilton apologised to FIA

  1. Mick

    Not good enough really. Maybe a $250,000 fine (probably less than a week’s salary) would be more of a message about how unacceptable his remarks were.

    • Michael

      Are you serious?

      Firstly, how is it acceptable to fine someone for what they said, when what they say is perfectly legal?

      Secondly, in what way were his remarks unacceptable?

      • Williams4Ever

        Look at every other sport out there, even a player who is wrongfully penalized by referees is expected to restrain the temper, failing which the players are handed out suspensions, financial penalties (and sometimes both) , if motor racing is considered a sport, how come its different than other sports?
        While I am all for spontaneity, If F1 fans indeed think “F1 is pinnacle of motorsport” then F1 drivers have that responsibility to be role models to other young drivers rising up through ranks and files of motor sports and this kind of behavior is simply not acceptable.
        And I am not even talking whether he/Massa/Maldanado is wrong in the two incidents for which Lewis was penalized.

        The rule of thumb in Motor racing, its overtaker’s responsibility to make a clean move and making the move stick. And the rule of thumb I learned from all the knowledgeable fans in F1 after Turkey’10 when it was Vettel’s responsibility to make a clean pass on Webber and Webber was always right to turn in since he had the racing line….

  2. Penni

    Why must he be punished? Was Alonso punished when he gave a finger in the pit lane last season? Why do you guys always wants to pick on Lewis? He is black and we are proud of him. F1 was dead until he came to the scene and the Ferrari mafia called FIA should appreciate what this young man has done for the sport. It is sickening. It is better they make a law and say LH is not allowed to overtake.

    • Williams4Ever

      I am more proud of Lewis than anybody out there, since I think he and Kobayashi are the only two racers on the grid, while rest are all just Strategy executioners for the team strategists.

      But irrespective of nature of the penalty Lewis should have shown restrain and respect when expressing opinion on stewards and fellow competitors. There are lots of young drivers out there who maybe looking at Lewis as their role model. What he did will now become a precedent at every kart race meeting around the world….

  3. John

    Yes harsher penalties is exactly what F1 (and for that matter the entire world) needs. – yes that’s sarcasm

    If everyone thinks like you do, it would be an awfully boring and crap place to be.

  4. Mick

    Hamilton’s ridiculous remarks will be reported far wider than a private forced apology & will detract from a great race. That is why he should be punished. His meaningless 20 sec penalty for his second offence today is laughable. Williams were deprived of substantial points by midfield / backmarker standards. Depending on how the season progresses, the difference in prize money could be $millions.

  5. I’m with John on this one. Hamilton’s race remarks were clearly made in jest – nothing offensive about them, or should we now expect ‘sensitive’ people to justify burning effigies of the man?
    Hasn’t everybody at some stage said something without thinking about all the possible implications. These folks have cameras and journalists around them all the time AND they’re pumped up with adrenalin and deeply involved in a dangerous sport – they’re not PR professionals sat behind desks outside the heat of the battle.
    Hamilton is up before the stewards more often because he tries harder – that’s what makes him the driver he is. It is unfortunate about Williams’ points but if every body just sat back and accepted they couldn’t overtake, there’d be little point in racing in Monaco.
    They have to take half (or quarter) chances. Get it right with a cooperative driver ahead and you’re a hero (like Schumi’s pass on Hamilton). Get it wrong you look stupid. Don’t try, you’ll go backwards.
    Cut the man some slack.

    • Tom

      Clearly made in jest to native English speakers, people who know about Ali G, etc. Not clear at all to tens of millions of fans around the world.

      Hamilton is up before the stewards more often not because he tries harder, but because his judgement this season has been a bit…inaccurate. You referenced Schumacher’s pass on Hamilton, and I suggest you go take a look at a replay. Schumacher was fully alongside before Hamilton turned in – Hamilton didn’t lunge into Massa until he’d begun turning in, and that’s the key difference. Schumacher has made his share of mistakes this year, but that was a great pass, and Hamilton’s were desperate attempts to copy it.

  6. Airhog

    Hamilton is lucky to be allowed to be racing in Canada. Not because the remarks, but because of his unsafe driving. He has been bullying all season, and it is only going to get worse until he succeeds in causing a serious (if not fatal) accident.

  7. noahracer

    Why should someone have to apologize for what they feel are true and honest opinions?

  8. Jason C

    Glad it’s sorted now – it seemed a bit strong in the interview, but I agree that you’d have to be pretty sensitive to be offended by them.

    His Massa incident I thought was his fault easily, but after listening to him and seeing a replay, Massa does turn in very early. Didn’t see the Maldonado crash in enough detail to say.

  9. ChinoDevoti

    Lewis did not apologize according to Martin Whitmarsh. Lewis explained his stupid racial comment to the Stewards and they “accepted his explanation”.
    I’m taking Martin for exactly what he said only.

  10. @Airhog – motor racing has seldom been about safe driving. Having to take half chances is a product of competitive racing. Monaco is something else of course.
    If unsafe driving is having a go at somebody into Loews/Station/whatever, then Schumacher, di Resta and others wouldn’t be racing in Canada either. And what about Vettel’s unsafe blocks at so many of last year’s starts?
    If you get crucified (apologies to Christians) for causing an avoidable accident, should Hamilton not also be sanctified for avoiding an avoidable accident on the opening lap with Schumacher?

  11. Steve Clark

    It was a messy race for Lewis to be sure but I am happy to see him go for it rather than just take the points. That said I do feel bad for Frank and the team.

  12. David L

    This confirms as good a driver as Lewis is he is a total knob when he’s out of the car. He clearly needs to look at the replays of the accidents he was involved in, he can’t be that stupid to think he was in the right on both occasions.

    The driver in front is allow one move to protect their line into the corner, they obviously can’t weave as per the rules. Both Massa and Maldonado did what you expect them to do in this scenario, they defended. Regardless of how harsh a penalty Lewis is given, it doesn’t give those guys back the race results they deserve…

  13. Andrew

    I’m tired of Hamilton’s racing. Let’s kick him out and make F1 into a time trial. Passing is boring!

  14. Michael

    Sad to see lewis getting the free out of jail card everytime.

  15. dave control

    i say fair play to lewis, bout time someone said something, i think the rules are goin to far in F1, in all motorsport theres goin to be a bit of contact, its called RACING, let the guys race n do there job otherwise its gonna go back to being a procession n if thats the case, whats the point in havin DRS and KERS n then may aswell have lil grooves in the track and call it F1 scalextric. the FIA, the teams but most of all the fans want more overtaking, so give it them, instead of stopping it by penalising every driver for taking the chances to overtake and just goin for it. and if they dont want things like what happened yesterday to happen, then maybe they should think bout removin monaco from the calender n who wants that, cos i dont

  16. Ahmed

    It seems to me that Lewis is trying the Senna tactit of attempting the pass and leaving the other driver to decide if they want to have an accident. Only problem is that they are not jumping out of the way and are choosing to have the accident (assuming that Massa and Maldonado even saw Hamilton in their mirrors steaming up the inside).

    • Sometimes I think he thinks he is Senna.

      He lives such a privileged life and I can’t understand why he would make stupid comments like he did. His joke was terrible and offensive to anyone that does actually struggle with race issues because he certainly does not

  17. Personally I don’t care about his remarks, which were clearly a joke. I don’t mind him being a bold driver taking chances and going for opportunities to advance in the field. That’s him, and that’s what divides us all about him. What I don’t like about him is that he just never owns up to his ballsy driving style. But that’s my own opinion and I know that alot of people don’t agree with me.

  18. Dave Myers

    To paraphrase Casey Stoner, Hamilton’s ambition outweighed his talent. I think Martin Brundle is spot on to say in the BBC F1 forum that it’s always someone else’s fault where Hamilton is concerned and that he has allowed frustration to creep in. He’s desperate to be seen as the next Senna, but he has nowhere near the same level of charisma or ability.

  19. Stone the crows

    Overtaking on the inside at turn 6 was a very optimistic move that came a cropper for him once and he tried it again. I’ll give any driver a pass on what he says post-race when the red mist is still in his eyes, but after all the fuss that’s been made about racism towards him in the last few years, he should know better, even when he’s angry very bad form. And yes there is a bit of the “don’t you know I’m THE Lewis Hamilton” attitude toward the rest of the drivers. If he were in Massa’s or Maldonado’s position he would have defended just as vigorously, and proudly would have talked about his tricks afteward.
    “I just try and keep my mouth shut,” yes Lewis, please do.

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