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.”