Bordering on the contrite whilst still not actually accepting that he was in the wrong over his questionable overtaking manoeuvres in the Monaco Grand Prix just under a fortnight ago, Lewis Hamilton has candidly reflected that 'we all have good and bad days in the office' – and quipped that 'my whole life I was always in the headmaster's office, so I'm used to it!'
Hamilton has been hauled over the coals over the past fortnight, not only for his refusal to acknowledge that he was overly aggressive in fighting his way past both Felipe Massa and Pastor Maldonado in the glamorous Principality – earning him a brace of penalties – but even more so for his extraordinary post-race outburst in which he severely criticised both FIA race stewards and his fellow drivers, and even opined that he is perhaps being singled out for punishment this season due to the colour of his skin [see separate story – click here
The 2008 F1 World Champion was arguably fortunate to escape any further sanctions for bringing the sport into disrepute in suggesting – albeit jokingly – that it suffers from an innate undercurrent of racial discrimination. After writing a letter to FIA President Jean Todt, the Frenchman explained that although 'what Lewis said was unacceptable', he elected against 'overreacting' and has rather accepted the McLaren-Mercedes star's apology [see separate story – click here
Now, two weeks on and as he prepares to launch the defence of his victory in last year's Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, Hamilton insists he has learned valuable lessons from the whole episode and is ready to put it behind him and move on around a circuit at which he has twice triumphed from just three starts, including his breakthrough F1 success back in 2007.
“I think it is a combination of many things,” the 26-year-old is quoted as having said by SPEED.com
. “All of us drivers here know what it is like, even you guys know, to be under pressure and to put pressure on yourself to succeed. We all have good and bad days in the office.
“That was definitely one of the worst weekends in the office, but that's motor racing, that's life. You learn from those situations. I have gone back and I have had a couple of days back home training and refreshing my mind, and coming here, I feel completely refreshed and [am] really looking forward to definitely a more positive weekend.
“Last week, coming back from the grand prix, I had some time to reflect on my behaviour and my weekend and again, just a feeling of it just being a bad day, a bad weekend in the office. I wrote a letter to the FIA to apologise, and I also spoke to the drivers. I just felt it was necessary to do that. I think it was the right thing for me to do, to be able to put everything behind me.
“This is racing, you know. When you're competitive – and this is the pinnacle of motorsport – and [when] it's not easy to overtake in this sport, every manoeuvre you make is definitely questionable. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you don't, so it's inevitable when I do quite a lot of overtaking [that] sometimes it's going to be right, sometimes not, but I think the stewards are doing a great job.
“Since I've been in F1, the consistency of the rules, the approach of the stewards [has been improving]. I think it makes it much better, so while I would prefer not to be up at the stewards' office so often – and trust me, I'm trying my hardest to stay out of there – my whole life I was always in the headmaster's office, so I'm used to it. I would just try to improve and learn from the situations that I get myself into.
“I think I'm a passionate driver. I can't emphasise just how passionate I am about racing and about winning and the pressure that I put on myself. With the pressures that go with the job and the admiration for what you do, I think that inevitably sometimes you say the right and the wrong things. Gilles Villeneuve and Ayrton [Senna], they were also very, very passionate racing drivers, so I prefer to hopefully one day be referred to [as] someone similar to them.”