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Formula One: Hamilton apologizes, blames suspended team member for incident

Rafay Ansar

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Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton apologized to the FIA, the media and his fans in the aftermath of his disqualification from the Australian Grand Prix results for deliberately misleading race stewards who looked into the events that led to Toyota's Jarno Trulli passing Hamilton behind the safety car with just a few laps remaining in the race.

Hamilton, speaking at a press conference in Malaysia ahead of this weekend's race, also laid blame at the feet of McLaren sporting director Dave Ryan, who the team has suspended for his role in the incident.

"In Melbourne, I had a great race. As soon as I got out 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," Hamilton said.

"Straight after that, we were requested by the stewards, and while waiting for the stewards, I was instructed and misled by my team manager to withhold information [about a radio conversation regarding letting Trulli by me], and that is what I did. I sincerely apologize to the stewards for wasting their time and for making them look silly. I am very, very sorry for the situation: for my team, for Dave, because he has been a good member of the team for many years, and whilst I don't think it was his intention--he is a good guy.

"I went into the meeting . . . I just wanted to tell the story and say what happened. I was misled and that is the way it went. I would like to say a big sorry to all my fans who have believed in me, who have supported me for years, who I showed who I am for the past three years, and it is who I am. I am not a liar. I am not a dishonest person. I am a team player.

"Every time I have been informed to do something [by the team], I have done it. This time I realize it was a huge mistake and I am learning from it. It has taken a huge toll on me. I apologize to [the media]; I didn't speak to you yesterday, but there was a lot to take in and a lot to deal with. I am here to apologize to everyone and I assure you it won't happen again.

"For me, the situation is definitely the worst thing I've experienced in my life. That is why I am here. It is right for me as a human being and as a man to stand in front of you all and tell you exactly what went on and put up my hands. I cannot tell you how sorry I am. I'm sorry to my team and my family for the embarrassment. It is a very, very embarrassing situation."
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