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Hamilton apologises for Melbourne 'mistake' 03 Apr 2009

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/24.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, 3 April 2009 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren leaves Race Control after another stewards inquiry into his incident with Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota at the end of the Australian GP.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sepang, Malaysia, Thursday, 2 April 2009

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton has publically apologised for the events that culminated in his disqualification from last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix. Speaking to the media in Malaysia on Friday, Hamilton said sorry to the Melbourne stewards and his fans for what he described as a ‘huge mistake’.

He finished the season-opener in fourth, but was handed third at a post-race hearing, after Toyota’s Jarno Trulli was penalized for passing his McLaren under the safety car. A second inquiry in Sepang, however, heard fresh evidence that showed that McLaren sporting director Dave Ryan and Hamilton had ‘deliberately misled’ the stewards by denying the British driver had been told to move aside to allow Trulli to pass.

"In Melbourne, I had a great race,” said the reigning world champion. “As soon as I got out of the car I had the television interviews at the back of the garage, and straight away I gave them a good account of what happened during the race. Straight after that we were requested by the stewards, and while waiting I was instructed and misled by my team manager to withhold information, and that is what I did.

"I sincerely apologise to the stewards for wasting their time. I’d like to say sorry to all my fans who have believed in me, and have supported me for years. I am not a liar or a dishonest person. I am a team player. Every time I have been informed to do something I have done it. This time I realise it was a huge mistake. I am learning from it. It has taken a huge toll on me.”

While Hamilton was excluded from the race results, Ryan has been suspended by McLaren and sent home to the United Kingdom. It is understood a decision on his future won’t be made until after this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.