Some unfinished business
Suzuka 2014
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Hamilton makes sure the world knows he's sorry
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Hamilton makes sure the world knows he's sorry
Posted By:   |  03 Apr 2009   |  10:36 am GMT  |  0 comments

Things are moving so fast here in Sepang it makes your head spin. Lewis Hamilton has just made an appearance in the media centre and given what has to be the most frank and open admission of guilt and sincere apology we have seen in this sport.

He sat alone on the stage and spoke for a little over ten minutes , his voice cracking at times, his body language full of anguish and regret.
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“I went into the meeting wanting to tell the story and I was misled. I was instructed and misled by my team manager to withhold information and that’s what I did. I sincerely apologise to the stewards for wasting their time. I’m very sorry for the situation. Sorry to all my fans, who have believed in me. Who I’ve showed you I am the past three years is who I am, I’m not a liar, I’m not a dishonest person, I’m a team player and every time I’ve been informed to do something I’ve done it. This time I realise it’s a huge mistake and I’m learning from it. It’s taken a huge toll on me.

“This is the worst thing I’ve experienced in my life and that’s why I’m here, because it’s right for me as a human being and as a man to stand up here in front of you all and tel you exactly what went on and say how sorry I am. I’m sorry to the team, to my family for the embarrassment.

“I’m sure that the FIA will act accordingly and in the right way.”

He also said that Trulli had driven a great race and that “it wasn’t my intention to get him a penalty.”
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Actually by making such a frank admission, it’s likely that he will escape a ban or even a suspended ban. The damage to his reputation and the loss of the result in Australia are likely to be deemed punishment enough.

Hamilton and Ryan have been in the stewards’ room together on many occasions over the past two years and the only thing we didn’t get the chance to ask today is whether this is the first time Ryan “instructed” Hamilton to lie. I’m sure that the FIA will consider this when the world council look at the situation.

The FIA’s Alan Donnelly was at the back of the room listening and the event was televised by FOM’s TV crew, so it was a really public affair.

Hamilton has been criticised in the past for not putting his hands up and saying “sorry” often enough. He couldn’t avoid it on this occasion.

One thing he will have to deal with is the impression many of his critics have that he is a manufactured driver, not his own man. The fact that he went along with the deception, didn’t take a stand at the time, even though he knew what he was doing was wrong, will fuel that impression.

The room was full of media from all around the world, with the Fleet St boys on the front row. At the end there was a light round of applause from some journalists, as Hamilton walked from the room, his shoulders sagging.

How the public will view him now, only time will tell, but it’s been a savagely bad start to the season for Hamilton, for McLaren and for new team principal Martin Whitmarsh.

Other teams are surprised that McLaren has allowed this to come down to individuals, that they have not stuck together as a team. By singling out Ryan, they have acted in a way which is different from the team spirit of McLaren in the past.

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  1. Matthew says:

    And that’s the right thing to do Lewis. Well done, we all need to own up sometimes. Now get on with winning.

  2. Finn says:

    Lewis has always followed team orders? Like in Hungary with Alonso.

    Is he lying again?

  3. Martin P says:

    Quote: “I’m not a liar”.

    Liar liar pants on fire.

    Go see Vettel, he has a cure for that.

  4. F1Wolf says:

    well, on March 31 he was sorry he could not be on that podium (that is what he said to Autosport)…

    I agree that the damage to the reputation should be enough punishment to him, but I do not buy this “I was mislead, I am not a liar” PR story.

    his position within McLaren is definitelly strong enough for him to be able to stand up to a senior member of the team who asks him to cheat in order to get a competitor to trouble. if not in front of the stewards, then in front of team principal who could have gone to FIA and deal with the matter before FIA decided to re-open the case …

    I do understand that sometime things are done without thinking and in the heat of the moment, but both Hamilton and McLaren had enough time to rectify the situation. instead they decided to celebrate the unexpected podium, regretting they could stand on it …

  5. Thomas in Adelaide says:

    It certainly looks like Ryan has been made a scapegoat.

    The whole event has been so disappointing. Lewis could have been such a great role model for kids out there, but he seems to shoot himself in the foot more often than not. i doubt his reputation will ever fully recover from this. Mud sticks. I think the best thing he could do now is look for a drive in a new team as soon as possible.

    Fortunately, McLaren look to be bit-players this season, so this shouldn’t really effect what is shaping up to be a great year of F1.

    Great coverage James. Keep it up.

  6. Peter says:

    Stewards:
    “During the hearing, held approximately one hour after the end of the race, the Stewards and the Race Director questioned Lewis Hamilton and his Team Manager David Ryan specifically about whether there had been an instruction given to Hamilton to allow Trulli to overtake. Both the driver and the Team Manager stated that no such instruction had been given. The Race Director specifically asked Hamilton whether he had consciously allowed Trulli to overtake. Hamilton insisted that he had not done so.”

    Lewis:
    “I was instructed and misled by my team manager to withhold information and that’s what I did.”

    Sooo, saying “no” when the answer should be “yes” is “withholding information”? Where I come from that’s a called a lie. Mr. Hamilton sounds more sorry about being cought than about being a liar…

  7. Moahmmad Tishat says:

    This is very very nice of him!!!!

  8. Cort says:

    I’m looking forward to reading the hundreds of apologies from those who posted comments on the internet about the racist stewards, corrupt FIA, lying Trulli and poor victim Hamilton.

    Get typing people.

  9. tEQUILLA sLAMMER says:

    McIdiots have got themselves in such a mess over this, now they are HAVING to point the finger at team individuals for such a stupid error!!! How could they tell the stewards there was no instruction to allow Trulli back into 3rd place, when 1 hour before Lewis had told Speed TV that he WAS instructed to let him past!!??? Almost beyond comprehension!!! And all for 1 point and a podium he didnt even get to appear on!!! Staggeringly stupid!!!

  10. Mark says:

    With a wet race likely on Sunday, let’s hope that he can redeem himself a little by driving a race worthy of a World Champion.

  11. silverstone79 says:

    Ryan had to go….

    Suspending Ryan was the only way that VMM would have any chance of avoiding futher penalties such as suspension for Lewis….

    If he hadn’t been suspended then what went on in the Stewards meeting would have been construed as an agreement between the pair not to fully disclose the facts thereby making Lewis equally as culpaple

    I expect they sat down and concluded that the only way through was for Ryan to take the rap and for Lewis to make an apology of gargantuant proportions.,,which is what we have seen.

    Wonder if it will work ???

  12. Lee Gilbert says:

    James, thanks for all this coverage of the McClaren situation but I for one am more interested in the practice sessions today and your insights on performance of the cars.

    Can you please post an insightful article on Friday’s times

  13. Paul says:

    This is damage limitation from McLaren.

    “By singling out Ryan, they have acted in a way which is different from the team spirit of McLaren in the past. ”

    But equally by doing so they can remove much of the blame from Lewis, and given that he’s potentially going to be with them for years to come you’ve got to cut your loses. I don’t suppose Mr Ryan was planning on retiring at the end of this season was he? Given some of the lies that have come from McLaren in the past week or so I actually wonder who was in on this.

    It’s still disturbing that the World Champion is happy to stand in front of the stewards and mislead them for his own benefit. That’s as simple as right and wrong, irrelevant of what his team manager has said.

  14. Albo says:

    Hamilton has done the right thing by apologising for being misled. We all make mistakes, and this was a mistake. I still think the whole thing has been blown out of proportion, nevertheless it has happened. I don’t think this does his reputation the huge damage that is being made out. Its not as if he drove someone off the road to win a championship, or deliberately parked his car on a corner to impede other people.

    His on the track behaviour was honest, in trying to clarify on the radio that he was doing the right thing, to find out what the right thing to do was. The fact race control didnt answer in time left the situation open to interpretation by the team.

    In his initial statements to the press, he told it how it was. It was only in the stewards meeting, and by adhering to the team line, that the comments changed. He is guilty of being loyal to the team line, and what the team told him to do despite knowing it wasnt entirely honest.

    In conclusion: Hamilton is still young, still feels he owes McLaren a lot after they supported him throughout his life. Its not hard to understand why he does what he is instructed to. Perhaps with a few more years in F1 under his belt, and more experience, he would not have been led in this way.

  15. Javaguy says:

    I’m really not sure what to think of this. I’ve never subscribed to the “Hamilton & Mclaren are evil” school of thought so accepted the original explanation that it was a misunderstanding.

    It’s astonishing that McLaren acted in this way, I always saw them as one of the more reputable F1 teams, even after the whole Spygate row.

    Only time will tell, I suppose, whether Hamilton goes on to redeem himself to his fans and to the FIA.

  16. Tony says:

    2 years in the sport, the team lies, he lies! Say no more.

  17. Chris says:

    I just heard the press conference on the radio, and was totally shocked. Such a simple and seemingly innocent incident has developed into a very foolish attempt to gain 1 point.

    Even if McLaren were unsure of the circumstances of what happened, they should have just been straight and honest with the stewards. This conspiracy theory that they are punished without reason holds no water here because of that.

    I wonder what’s worse, being fined 50 million pounds, or your reputation of honesty and integrity, damaged, for one solitary point.

  18. Jay says:

    Something must be wrong with Johnny Interwebs because I cannot find the hundreds of sincere apologies from all those people who accused the FIA of fixing results, the stewards of being racist, or Trulli of changing his story to get Hamilton kicked out. I’m sure they’ll get posted shortly once the mods have waded through them all…..

    What I *can* see across the internet is people STILL desperately trying to find excuses for McLaren or reasons to find a conspiracy against Lewis. Including one nutter who claims the FIA have forced Lewis to admit wrongdoing on fear of exclusion from the championship for the rest of the year! Well, the rest of you at least, switch on the news and then come back with your humble apologies to the above mentioned players. I await with baited breath.

  19. Dazzauk says:

    James, do you know if this and the Whitmarch interview is going to be published on the web at any point?

    I think it is a sign of the importance of this incident that Lewis has been able to come out and say how he feels, good on him i say, you can tell from the start that this was a team led thing and not him being a liar.

    I have a lot more respect for him now he’s done this, it shows he’s a normal, i can imagine he’s been pretty cut up about the whole thing and just wanted to clear the air.

    Hopefully this will be the end of it, it would be awful if he was penalised further for what was clearly a Mclaren management mistake.

  20. LeighJW says:

    Surely all this is due to race control being unavailable at a cruicial moement? Why isn’t Charlie Whiting being investigated or suspended for such unprofessional conduct?

  21. James Bond says:

    Well, poor guy,
    i remember myself when i was in his age… I’d believe anything so i can understand why he lied, but it takes lot of effort to apologise…

  22. The Pitstop says:

    It was the right thing to do. Whether anyone now lets him move on from this is another story.
    He has apologised so lets hope f1 moves on from this so we can get back to normal racing again.

  23. Veggen says:

    He is truly sorry… that they were caught with their pants down.
    If he really meant that, why did he not come clean earlier this week, before he was forced to.
    Hypocritical at best.

  24. gazzap says:

    I am glad he came out and said all that. Ham needs to get his head right now. as he said its all taken a toll on him and its going to be one of the hardest weekends of his racing life. he needs to have a solid race. dont make any rash decisions and hopefully pick up some points. Ham will recover because he is a winner but this will go down as one to forget. good luck to him.

  25. Jake says:

    Surely McLaren blamed individuals in the spying scandal? It seems like this is being treated in the same way: the team saying it was one person acting alone.

  26. Tom says:

    “I’m a team player and every time I’ve been informed to do something I’ve done it.”

    I think Lewis is fibbing again…didn’t he deliberately ignore what his team told him to do in qualifying in Hungary, 2007?

    I’m sorry but the excuse of someone told me to do it makes him sound like a ten year old school kid not a World Champion.

  27. Luciano says:

    I can’t see Fernando Alonso being told what to say in Steward’s hearing, can you?

    Lewis isn’t a rookie anymore….

  28. Fidem says:

    When all is said and done. At least Hamilton has done the right thing and come out clean. It’ll be a slight blemish on his career, but can anyone name a legend from any sport who hasn’t been disgraced in the past??
    And for Mclaren not standing as a team, I believe they have always done whatever it takes to protect their drivers from controversy, after all they are at the sharp end of the team.

  29. rpaco says:

    Ok now we are all thinking what would Ron have done? How would he have handled it differently.

    I have to say that I am a Lewis fan and this has all borne out exactly what I first thought about the affair and posted on one of the threads here a few days ago (seems like a few weeks now!!)

    He was lying misguidedly to support the team. He is a decent bloke and lying is not his normal behaviour. He was also incredibly stupid and behaved like a moron and knows it.

    I think it significant that he said “This time I realise it’s a huge mistake and I’m learning from it. It’s taken a huge toll on me. ” He has always relied on the certainty that Ron and Co were telling him the right thing, not its a bit like finding out that Father Christmas is not real (sorry if I spoilt that for some of you :-)

    I am still a Lewis fan, and am sure he can pull himself together and drive his socks off for the rest of the season. Whether he will ever be able to trust the team so unreservedly in the future is another matter.

  30. Mike Monji says:

    Its was about time, all great drivers have gone through that. Do u remember Shcumacher, Monaco 2005? Webber declared he lost all respect he had for the 7times WC, but in reality we all still respect and always will MS…

  31. Chris P says:

    I do hope the press doing go all ‘burn the witch’ over this a la Russell Brand etc. Hamilton lied, admitted it, apologised and has been duly punished – all around some confusion over safety car rules. I dont think he is any more of a liar than anyone else – we are all human. Compared to Schumacher Hamilton is an absolute Saint! I hope people move on now.

  32. OgRib says:

    That’s a very tough thing Lewis did. At least he has come out and owned his part in this mess.

    Now can we get back to racing and deciding the winners on the track?

    Please???

  33. natef1 says:

    “I’m a team player and every time I’ve been informed to do something I’ve done it.”

    I think Lewis is fibbing again…didn’t he deliberately ignore what his team told him to do in qualifying in Hungary, 2007?

    Um, no, that was Alonso.

    James, can we please get back to the racing? If you are a true F1 fan then surely you care more about what happened in today’s Practice sessions than this rubbish at McLaren.

    Let the tabloids deal with this junk, you are an F1 writer, write about F1 for crying out loud.

  34. Finn says:

    I feel that his explanation has just made things worse. Yes he should have apologised … but coming out with the ‘following orders’ argument just makes him look weak in the first place and like he is trying to absolve himself from and real responsibility in the second place.

    He’s culpable. Apologise and admit your guilt, but don’t whine and try to make other people look bad.

    And claiming he has always followed team orders …. ahem!

  35. chris says:

    Good press conference form Lewis and he was well advised to do it on his own. He needs to trust his instincts on track because Mclarens bureaucratic, management blahh blahh blahh matrix structures are responsible for this event. The team clearly has no confidence in their grasp of the sporting rules which is why they were badgering Race control.

    Mclarens radio Transcript is embarrassing and makes them look like amateurs. Was Dave Ryan as sporting director responsible for instructing the drivers on track?

  36. Kloothommel says:

    If they lied about this, what else have they been lying about?

    Maybe there was some truth to the claims of Alonso off unfair treatment @ McLaren.

  37. Dylan says:

    It takes a lot of courage to do something like this… I believe that he truly didn’t intend to ‘lie’, and have a whole lot more respect for him now that he has apologized… I feel the penalty is fair and should be upheld, and we should now move on from this topic and onto the actual race meeting @ Sepang.

  38. Aaron James says:

    I don’t find Hamilton’s apology sincere at all, in fact it is very Nuremburgish ‘i was just doing what the team told me, I was misled’.

    Ryan may well have told Lewis to take a certain attitude in the stewards room, but Lewis should be man enough to take the blame for following that direction. Not trying to say he was misled.

    Every father says to their sons ‘well you wouldnt jump off a cliff if someone told you would you?’.

    Lewis is ‘apologising’ in much the same way he did for punting Raikkonen out of the race in Canada, or the way he twice disturbed Kimi’s qualifying in Brazil in 2007 when Anne Guintini went off her rocker at him.

    No, this is not the most gracious of apologies at all, it’s just more of the same, a canned PR move, in a long line of canned PR moves.

    Martin Whitmarsh in contrast was unequivocal in his apology he didn’t look to avoid blame, something Lewis in his ‘not apology’ doesn’t do.

  39. Jay says:

    The question that should be asked is would this ever have happened under Ron Dennis? Probably down to Whitmarsh in the new role…

  40. Trespass says:

    Hamilton is at the absolute world top of racing, making big bucks and playing political games like all the others. He’s not a normal innocent ‘boy’, he’s shaped for succes.
    Cheaters and liars shoud be punished, he’s proven dishonest.
    Drive like hell and show the world at least you are a stunning driver…. like Schumacher did.

  41. Glen D says:

    I commend Lewis for coming out in from of the world and giving this apology. It takes a strong person to put their hands up in front of everyone and say they made a mistake.

    This will change the way he thinks and maybe he will question some of the things that are asked of him in the future.

    Yes it has dented his reputation but i could in the end be good for him as a racer, driver and a person.

    It has cast a shadow over McLaren and the management. Whitmarsh seems to have dealt with it his way.

    There is no doubting Lewis’ talent. Let’s hope all the talk of Lewis will now be about the Racing on the track!

  42. Team Playa says:

    I am not a liar. I am a team playa. The team told me to come and read this to you, so I am doing it now. I am not dishonest, I am a team playa. Repeat after me. Team Playaaaaaaaa.

  43. john says:

    This does beg the question of whether he lied in previous stewards’ meetings, such as Japan and Hungary 2007.
    Once a liar, always liar.
    I also don’t believe that he had no idea that mclaren had stolen ferrari’s data in 2007. Why would they only tell Alonso and De la Rosa and not inform this lying excuse of a racing driver

  44. facchetti says:

    Dream sequence ….
    … post race in Sepang. Lewis has just driven a stormer (sic) in the rain and is once more on the podium …
    Enter (stage left) a stern-faced Mr Hamilton Snr, dressed in Pythonesque drag who stands to address the fans below:

    “I TOLD YOU …
    HE IS NOT THE MESSIAH …
    HE’S JUST A VERY NAUGHTY BOY.”

  45. The Pitstop says:

    I think Whitmarsh needs to also go, and lets have Ron back in charge.

  46. guy says:

    James I’ve heard a rumour there may be a race on this sunday – any truth to this?

  47. Jay says:

    I love it. Now Hamilton is getting credit for coming clean.

    You don’t get credit for coming clean after you have already been proved lying.

  48. Anshul says:

    Another angle mentioned somewhere above.. Ryan has been made a scapegoat. Makes sense. Lewis couldn’t have taken the fall as he is the big box office draw as mentioned on James’ blog earlier.

    I am just thankful here that Ferrari wasn’t involved in this whole thing or else tongues would have wagged about a so called FIA-Ferrari nexus.

  49. Mangoman says:

    It didn’t seem at all like a frank admission to me. He said in effect that he’s not a liar, that he intended to tell the truth, but he withheld things from the stewards, but only because he was told to, and that he’s sorry that “he was misled”. According to the FIA, the stewards asked him explicitly whether he’d let Trulli back into P3, and he not only denied it, but “insisted” that he hadn’t. Likewise with the matter of whether the team had instructed him to allow Trulli to re-pass.

    I was surprised none of the journos put this to him. There is actually a difference between being economical with the truth, and bare-facedly lying under cross-examination.

  50. Phil says:

    I am a McLaren fan and I am gutted that yet again the emphasis has been placed on the conduct of the team and not on their racing.

    Sunday morning I was celebrating some rather unexpected points and now it is a shambles.

    I stopped watching premiership football when players starting to dive (cheat) so often that one could only imagine their teams encouraged it. I for one do not want to be driven (no pun intended) away from F1 for similar reasons.

    On a happier note, I’ll be in Singapore in September (ticket permitting of course)

  51. James says:

    The thing I find most interesting is that you have the English media hanging Hamilton out to dry like there is no tomorrow, while in an analogous incident of cheating the driver avoided culpability entirely.

    I’m refering to Alonso & De La Rosa’s knowledge in the “Spygate” scandal, their discussion of Ferrari designs and talk of running them in the simulator was central to the FIA case that the confidential Ferrari information had penetrated deep into the team.

    Alonso wasn’t hung out to dry by any press over that incident, and his credibility seems to be largely intact. Despite his 6 years of Formula 1 experience and his coming to Mclaren as the reigning world champion he couldn’t go against the grain and blow the whistle, instead doing so only when his Formula 1 career might be in jeapordy if he did not do so.

    If somebody with 35 years who I respect told me what to say/do, I’d listen to them. Its very easy to persuade somebody much less experienced than you, especially if you have influence over them. After driving a grueling race and -earning- third but for the mistake of your team, I’m sure he wasn’t hard to convince that it was about him getting justice rather than him being truthful, and that it wasn’t a big deal how ‘the right result’ was arrived at.

    On the flip side, I really hope that a 35 year member of the McLaren team hasn’t taken the fall for Lewis here, nobody deserves to be a scapegoat but its practically criminal to do that to somebody that has served the team so loyally.

  52. Marilyn says:

    What Lewis did was wrong, no doubt about that. He is feeling the consequences of his actions and right too. I however feel he should now be given a break. All of us make mistakes lucky for us it is not on the world stage and we can conceal our own embarrassment and regret in our own homes or at work. If one single person can stand up and say they have not made a mistake then you have the right to condem this young man. His father, family and fans must be disgusted but he will not be abandon, as long as he learns from it and it does not happen again. Let it be a lesson.

  53. Gaz says:

    This is not an apology. It’s a guarded apology. Sorry but it wasn’t really my fault – I was told to lie and it’s his fault so in fact I’m not a liar.

    Hamilton was all prepared to let another driver lose his points over this situation. It was only after he was caught that he apologized.

    (And yes it was Hamilton who first disobeyed team orders in Hungary with Alonso).

  54. Peter says:

    Lewis is not a liar and any of those who deem him so are ignorant of the whole sport. Hamilton is a wonderfully polite, competitive guy and sure he made a mistake but he has said sorry. A real proper apology it was as well. If people want to continue slating the guy, so be it, but you are just senseless, sad idiots I’m afraid. As James said, why do people like Alonso and De La Rosa escape criticism for their part in the horribly dark Spygate, yet a little mistake by Lewis has been absolutely slated upon. For me Alonso lost much respect I had for him after Hungary 2007 for his huge role in the Spygate scandal. In 2005 and 2006 we had a real talent who had full respect, but after August 2007, that respect was no longer there. I think he’s become a weaker man and a weaker driver since his forgettable McLaren days, all stemmed from the fact that he was getting outperformed by a certain young man who still is amazing us, Lewis Hamilton. Alonso had to learn that he was no Schumacher.

  55. kurt says:

    ‘If someone told me to jump of a cliff I would, I’m a team player’

    What an idiot!

    He lied, he should get a ban full stop, you can’t not ban him ‘because he is very sorry for lying’! Everyones sorry when they get caught, it doesn’t stop them being a dishonest person!

  56. Broer Sammy says:

    Hamilton failed to informed his team, he has said the truth to the media just after the race end.

  57. Darryl Williams says:

    Wow. I’m not a Hamilton fan – and its the absurd amount of media attention he’s gotten from the instant he appeared on the grid more than anything. But wow,

    I actually find myself saying “poor Lewis.”

    I sincerely hope that Lewis gains some humility from this and that in a year or two’s time, every driver on the grid will call Lewis his friend. Last year, Lewis was obviously a prima donna, noone on the grid liked him. Hopefully some good can come of this situation and he will become someone that everyone really does want to support!

  58. Przemek says:

    Oooh c’mon James! I really like you but ‘hamilton makes sure the world knows he’s sorry’ it’s a rather pathetic attempt show us how golden the ‘golden boy’ is.

  59. Alv says:

    You can’t say Hamilton is building a boring f1 career, can you? Second in his debut year with a lot of buzz over his relations with Alonso; champion in his sophomore year due to an overtaking maneuvre in the final corner of the year and now punished by the FIA. One man army

  60. F1 fan says:

    Yes he said sorry, but he already lied. Everything shouldn’t just go away because of that speech. Some of it should, not all of it.

  61. It’s funny listening to the comments made by Mr Alonso over this whole affair, as he clearly still wants to stir his big spoon.

    But do you think this story adds viewers or takes them away, as I’m sure at the end of the day that’s the most important thing.

  62. Aaron says:

    Mmmmm don’t we just love the drama of f1 and this is only the start of the season!
    I’m a of fan Lewis and this incident wont change that, I’m actually starting to think Hamilton’s career will be a none stop soap opera from start to finish.
    Screw the haters GO LEWIS!!!!

    P.S Miss ya James

  63. Simon R says:

    If you want James’ thoughts on the practice sessions then read

    http://www.itv-f1.com/Feature.aspx?Type=James_Allen&id=45465&PO=45465

    “With all the stuff going on behind the scenes in Malaysia, it is worth remembering that there is a race going on here as well this weekend.

    To that end, here is my Friday form guide.

    The weather stayed dry today and the teams did a lot of running. Both types of Bridgestone tyre were used and the good news is that, unlike in Melbourne, the soft tyre is a raceable option; it is not losing performance after a handful of laps.

    Ferrari did a long run which started out in the 1m36s, went out to the mid-1m37s and then came back into the 1m36s.

    Last weekend in Melbourne that would not have been possible: the tyre would have just got slower after about five laps.

    Some teams got it to work better than others and it was noticeable that Brawn GP were one of those struggling a bit.

    Jenson Button complained of balance problems – he was getting quite a bit of understeer on the soft tyre and complained of a real struggle with front grip in the high-speed corners.

    There is some work to do there tonight, but the BGP001 car is still fundamentally half a second per lap faster than the rest of the field.”

  64. Finn says:

    In talking about Macca/Lewis telling porkies, Alonso has referred back to Hungary 2007. Wonder if the FIA has ever thrown someone out of a championship so long after the event.

  65. Mattw says:

    Well now, the baying masses have their blood – I wonder if we can move on?

    How this became focused on ‘who said what to whom’; and not about weather Trulli was actually entitled to make that pass as he did is beyond me.

  66. Steven says:

    I spy BBC’s jake Humphry in that photo!

  67. Grabyrdy says:

    You wonder about the “corporate ideals” at McL that Ron goes on and on about.

    1 – They engage a young hotshoe to second the double world champion, and then instead of saying to him “listen and learn from a guy who’s been there and done it ‘cos for the 5 years after this one it could be you”, they encourage him to do everything he can to undermine his Number One – they even help and cheer when he succeeds. Result is, they both lose.

    2 – They encourage and back up same young hotshoe as he cuts a swathe through the field as he finally lucks into the championship on the final corner of the final lap, when in truth they should have won it weeks before.

    3 – Young hotshoe is so unsure of where his arse is in relation to his elbow that when one of his many bosses says “lie to the stewards” it doesn’t seem to occur to him to say no, either because he might be found out or, perish the thought, it’s might not be the right thing to do.

    Lewis is a young man. Supremely talented, but young. He’s needed a firm hand and serious guidance from McL since the beginning, but instead they’ve copped out. McL seem so unable to cope with the pressure that senior members of the team tell porkies to the stewards when they know perfectly well the evidence exists which will show them up, and only regret it when they get found out. How can you then expect them to soak up some of the pressure on their young star ? Personally I don’t think McL deserve to have a talent like his in the team. As for Lewis, he going to need to work out the morality of the world for himself ‘cos he sure as hell is not going to learn anything useful at McL.

  68. MartinWR says:

    I think it’s becoming fairly obvious that Dave Ryan has been made the scapegoat for this thoroughly disreputable episode, in order to save you-know-who taking responsibility for his behaviour. Presumably, having had his own reputation publicly destroyed he will be well looked after financially by the team.
    Several things are of interest here. Firstly, as McLaren clearly have been shown a number of times to have an ingrained culture of corporate mendacity, why should anyone believe any explanation they proffer on this particular occasion? Secondly and more interestingly, is the plan to scapegoat Ryan an in-house concoction, or has it been devised following discussion between the power-brokers of F1, Bernie, Max, RD even, as the only possible way forward that will save The Sport the embarrassment of having to throw the “world champion” out on his arse? You take your pick, but I know which one my money would be on.
    Whether you are happy with a situation where the major players lie through their teeth to the officials whenever it suits them seems to be very much a matter of personal choice nowadays, and a boring one at that, judging by the majority of the letters you read. Personally, I’m not gone on it, but that’s my own choice. But I would say, the problem is that once it becomes accepted practice, where will it end? Would anyone ever bother to lumber themselves with the inconvenience of being truthful again?

  69. Ian Abrahams says:

    Look, if you tell lies because someone else tells you to, then you are still a liar…

    Interesting isn’t it, that the world champion doesn’t feel strong enough that when someone else apparently tells him to mislead the stewards, he can’t turn around and say, ‘hey guys, we don’t do this…’

    Very hard to feel any sympathy really.

  70. Rich says:

    With regards to this debacle I can see how the conversation evolved between Ryan and Hamilton. I’d put money on it being something like this…

    “Er.. Lewis, I don’t really think we need mention the radio transmissions, do you?”

    “Oh, OK”

    And with each not wishing to contradict, embarass or correct the other in front of the stewards, that is all it would have taken to start heading down this regrettable slippery slope. No deliberate subterfuge intended – just a desire to keep things simple and not introduce extraneous detail. I think Ryan should be given a bit of a gentle talking to and then quietly rehabilitated back into the team. No firings or resignings because it is not warranted and all such gestures do is to add buckefuls of chum to the feeding frenzy.

    This whole process can be likened to the Inquisiton. Whatever you say gets you into trouble and I suspect this nonsense has been encouraged at a high level in official F1 power circles. Make up for the generally poor show on the track with lots of behind the scenes paddock titillation. How prescient, for example, of B. Ecclestone to say before it was provided last year, that all F1 needed was a sex scandal.

    James, great site! Have enjoyed your books. Hope to hear you back in the commentary box soon.

  71. pbyrne says:

    I’ve just seen the full press converence on BBC Red Button as well as spot-on (I think) comments by Martin Brundle.

    Hamilton answered a number of Q & As and looked very uncomfortable but laid the blame squarely on Dave Ryan. Would his conscience have been so tortured if he managed to get away with it? Think not…

    Brundle was good value – said a good person in Dave Ryan had been left to carry the can and that Lewis is as much responsible as the team. Good, balanced unbiased comments.

    Most telling thing was the ‘applause’ after the press conference. I think James had mentioned ‘a number’ of journos clapped but from what I heard it was a VERY muted applause, maybe one person (STEVE RYDER musat be still lurking about)

    BTW — James’ pro-Hamilton bias on ITV really irked me but he seems much more even-handed and fair in this blog. I really enjoy reading it. If you’re reading this JA good job – more please!

  72. monktonnik says:

    All this “I always do what the team tell me” is a bit much. What about the pit lane incident last year that really kicked off the Hamilton vs Alonso thing? He disobeyed team orders when it suited him. Although to be a world champion you have to be ruthless, and I am a Schumacher (now Button) fan, so I have condoned worst!

    To be honest, the Mclaren handling of this affair draws some parallels with 2007 in that a senior, but not well known player is made a scape goat, or at least is culpable without the driver(s) or the key players in the team admitting blame.

    To me this seems like a PR offensive to deflect the worst of the blame away from Hamilton. I am not saying that Dave Ryan wasn’t guilty, but Lewis did what he did. I find it hard to believe that he gave a contrary internview first and anyone thought that they could get away with it.

  73. M__E says:

    “I’m sorry to the team, to my family for the embarrassment.”

    Not sure why he’s appologising to the team then if they (Albiet Ryan – who represents the team in that situation) are the ones who got him into the mess. Listening to the radio traffic it seems Hamilton wasn’t ‘malicious’ in letting Trulli past.

  74. Fandango says:

    Lying aside, was there any clarrification on what either Hamilton or Truli should have done. It seems the entire issues has been overlooked based on what Hamilton did, didn’t or was told to say.

    The stewards were so keen to penalise Truili for passing under the safety car, what difference did it make whether Hamilton made the decision himself, was told by the team or lied to stewards afterwards. It doesn’t ditract from the fact that the whole incident happenend. Maybe they should have spent a little more time and made the right decision first time.

  75. rpaco says:

    Frankly now I getting tired of the avalanche of thoughtless/unreasoned/illogical anti Lewis hype that is being poured out on this blog. We don’t need the same point endlessly repeated. It seems the object is to kick when the man is down, a poor and sadly now typical, reflection on our society.

    James can we now have some different subjects please?

    Like have Toyota modified the illegal rear wing or is it still flexible?

    Is the Williams mechanical KERS being used and if so how well does it work compared to the electrical?

    Have any photos been taken of other teams testing a new diffuser?

    Why has no one protested the Ferrari mirror columns? These are clearly against the spirit of the regulations if the Brawn diffuser is.

    What do teams say is the effect of the rear wheel covers? These are completely disregarded by all the rules. I noticed that Ant said we had better call them brake coolers when two fell of in rapid succession practice. (followed by a great and funny remark about good quality control which may have been lost on non-engineers)

    [ I was wondering how long it would take for the lid to pop, rpaco. Hang in there, friend. The real thing starts again in earnest tomorrow ... - Mod ]

  76. bill says:

    How can he be said to be a man, owning up to something when his apology states that he was “told to do it”. An honest apology is to stand up for what YOU did, and not deflect onto others in the apology.

  77. Danilo says:

    Why the friggin’ hell didn’t he have the balls to fess up to a mistake. Was it because Vettel got his arse penalktied right to hell for admitting guilt for a shunt he wasn’t the only one to blame for. Thanks to [ ]Max and evil midget, F1 has turned into a freak show ! [danilo - you're welcome here but please read Rules of Blog - Moderator]

  78. Broer Sammy says:

    James, please make an interview with Dave Ryan we like to heard straight from him.

  79. Robin Capper says:

    His apology was another mistake. “He made me do it” is not an apology, or even a valid excuse.

  80. James says:

    In the long run this could be the making of Hamilton. He’s a young man who’s spent most of his life enmeshed in other people’s agendas – that of his team, and of his pushy, idealistic hubristic father. Lewis may only ever seen himself through the mirror of other people’s hopes and expectations. Suddenly it all falls apart and he is revealed in front of the world for what he is – a young man who is both ruthless in his desire to win, and overly influenced by the older men who surround him.

    So like the rest of us he’s a flawed human being. He’s not the fairy-tale story his father would like us to believe in. That story is bust and cannot be rebuilt as it was. Thank god! Now he will no choice but to do some serious thinking about who pulls his strings, about what he really wants, and about what he believes in. In other words to grow up in areas he has maybe not needed to so far Maybe from now on we’ll start to see more of the real Lewis rather than the manufactured one. What a relief!

  81. Neil says:

    This is a blog, and the topic is lewis’s apology. There’s many injustices in the world, but most are not relevant to the topic. So, with all due respect, why are we discussing toyota wings, hungary 2007, or the race on sunday – they all have their own little discussions (and some are over ;)) elsewhere.

    Personally, I have no issue with anything that happened on track at melbourne. The race was great. The mixups with positions at the end was unfortunate. Only one mistake was made; the guy who told lewis to give the place back moments after he got it and then changed his mind too late.

    lewis’ apology was pure Ronspeak. You can’t apologise with one breath and say it was not your fault with the next. You don’t make a genuine apology and only express remorse for the damage done to your reputation, the embarassment to your family and the cost to yourself and your team.

    Is it so hard to just say “JARNO, SORRY I LIED AND TOOK ALL YOUR POINTS IN MELBOURNE K”

    Moving on, it’s clear that there’s still two types of people – those who will still believe he can do no wrong, and those who see this as testament to the lack of integrity of the man and the team.

  82. Alvin K says:

    oh..i’m sorry..it seems i have missed all the apologies from race drivers such as alonso, schumacher, trulli, etc, etc after every race..”oh i’m sorry..did i cut your racing line? how rude of me to be racing at all..”

    c’mon enough of this shit already..

    and by the way neil..”Moving on, it’s clear that there’s still two types of people – those who will still believe he can do no wrong, and those who see this as testament to the lack of integrity of the man and the team.”..classic hamilton hater, i guess you belong in the 2nd group – translated meaning “those who will still believe he is always wrong nomatter what”..

    ok..all together now..for he’s a jolly good fellow..

  83. Alvin K says:

    guess what? james here has just cleared it all for me..so all this while i thought schumacher was not ruthless, he was just angelic..it seems that herr schumi trying to ram people of the track to win at all costs is not ruthless but lewis is ruthless..my mistake then..tea on me then chaps..

  84. rpaco says:

    Strange, by now I was sure that someone would have blamed Lewis for the rain. :-)

  85. Martin P says:

    Are you seriously suggesting that it’s Charlie Whiting’s fault that a man with decades of experience and the current World Champion colluded to tell lies to the Stewards?

    Of course he wasn’t available at the time – there was a Safety Car on track and I think there might even have been a Medical Car deployed too if I recall the footage correctly. That’s a bit more urgent than a call from McLaren to clarify a rule that they should be able to interpret for themselves anyway.

    The Stewards get a lot of flack, most of it deserved. For once they’ve done everything right.

  86. Paul says:

    Surely McLaren and Lewis should know the rules sufficiently enough that they needn’t ask Charlie every 30 seconds?

  87. Finn says:

    FYI …. a small curiosity that crops up as a typo all the time:

    “USAGE The spelling : baited breath instead of bated breath is a common mistake that, in addition to perpetuating a cliché, evokes a distasteful image. Before using the expression bated breath, think of the verb : abate, as in : the winds abated, not fish bait.”

  88. Paul says:

    Indeed, as soon as McLaren get a penalty their fans are in uproar accusing the FIA & stewards of all sorts, yet time and time again the FIA & Stewards seem to come to a logical, fair and honest decision. (Spa 08 was questionable I’ll grant you, but equally McLaren got off lightly with SpyGate).

  89. Anshul says:

    I second almost all you said.. except that public has a short memory. People will soon forget this and move on.

    Regarding him going to a new team.. well too early in his career yet.

    Great stuff James. Thanks!

  90. P Byrne says:

    “the most frank and open admission of guilt and sincere apology we have seen in this sport.”

    Sincere apology? I think not…

    I don’t think there’s anything sincere about Hamilton. The fact that the whole team are willing to let a vetern team member take the fall is astounding.

  91. Andy says:

    Talk about a storm in a teacup, cheating has been rife in F1 in the past. This event is tiny in comparison to some of the whoppers the teams have told before.

    Get your head down Lewis and let your driving do your talking.

    James, great blog. It’s now my favorite F1 site on the net. Well done :)

  92. Colin S says:

    It’s easy to ‘be a man’ and ‘admit guilt’ when you’ve been caught bang to rights. I find it hard not to believe that the tears were self pity rather than shame.

    Regardless, I do hope this is closure for the matter and we can get on with the season. All this is distracting from the Brawn/Button/Barrichello story!

  93. Jojo says:

    Well, he will only do what he is told if and only if he he’s going to benefit from it. So obviosluy, he’s well aware that following his boss’ instrauction will gift him an extra point..Remember, he lost 2007 by a point while winning last year by a point.

  94. Tom says:

    You may want to refresh your memory. This is taken from an article on autosport.com entitled ‘Dennis: Hamilton triggered incident’, published on August 4th 2007.

    “The cars are dispatched as soon as possible. In this instance, Lewis’s car got up to that temperature first, so we sent Lewis, then we sent Fernando, and the fuel burn characteristics [mean that] there is a small advantage which we play from driver to driver according to the nature of the circuit.

    “In this instance, it was Fernando’s time to get the advantage of the longer fuel burn. The arrangement was, OK, we’re down at the end of the pitlane, we reverse positions in the first lap.

    “That didn’t occur as arranged. That was somewhat disappointing and caused some tensions on the pitwall.’

    So yes, Hamilton did deliberately ignore his team, and as such his claim that he has always done what his team has asked of him is a complete falsehood.

  95. nickogs20 says:

    How is writing about all this not writing about F1? It’s the story that is dominating F1 media and, I’m sure, the paddock, so obviously James is going to write about it.

  96. Stephen Kellett says:

    And claiming he has always followed team orders …. ahem!

    I thought team orders were not allowed.
    :-)

  97. Mike says:

    20 years ago he’d have said he was “being economical with the truth”

  98. Lee Gilbert says:

    Exactly – lets forget this Soap Opera. If I want Eastenders I know where to find it

    The real f1 fans don’t care and want insight into Friday’s track times and performances

  99. Martin says:

    I agree. Back then, Hamilton caused a huge public row by NOT following clear and explicit team orders. I don’t buy the team-player explanation for one sec.

  100. George says:

    Off the track he’s always been on a very short leash with regards to what he’s allowed to say, hell it’s one of the main reasons people dislike him in the first place. I find it very easy to believe that he’s just gone with what Ryan has told him, probably believing Ryan had thought it through.

  101. Steve- Honey- O says:

    Hamilton’s a liar? Mabyse so, but didn’t Brawn’s grandfather team BAR (and their driver Button) never cheat once or twice? They did, throughout 2004 and the start of 2005 ’till they got rumbled.

    And Ross Brawn’s manipulation of the ’09 regulations which he was partly created to suit his car was hardly the most honest thing to do…

    Everybody cheats to some degree in F1- it’s just that everyone is simply looking for an excuse to hate Hamilton/ Mclaren that bit more.

  102. Peter Freeman says:

    A very good pint James, I agree with what you are saying wholly!

    Also lets not forget that Hamilton is a driver and it would be very natural for him to relinquish ‘handling of the stewards’ to the senior sporting director and do what he is asked. Why would he think he knows how to handle the stewards better than the sporting director?

  103. Mattw says:

    The Hungary incident is where Mclaren were given a penaulty because they lied to the stewards trying to defend Alonso from the Grid penaulty

  104. Pete Jackson says:

    Senna was always embroiled in controversy……this all must be part of his emulation plan.

  105. guy says:

    but most importantly……………. where was the spanish girl in the black dress.

    if i were hamilton i’d have had her on stage to deflect attention away from me!!

  106. Pete Jackson says:

    oh, and I spy Peter Windsor.

  107. MartinWR says:

    Sorry but if you can’t tell the difference between a person who tells a bare-faced lie when it happens to suit them, and a brilliant designer who exploits the finer nuances of the rules, which is after all his job anyway, I pity you.

  108. George says:

    I’ll second this, the soft tires dont seem to be going off as badly as in Australia, but it’s difficult to tell with all the teams doing different length runs. The harder tires seem to be more of an issue, it will be interesting to see how much time (if any) they lose after leaving the pits before they can get them back up to temperature.

  109. George says:

    They thought they knew the rules in Spa last year, turns out they rules were open to interpretation then. Is this Charlie Whiting’s fault? No, I dont think so, but there should have been someone available to clarify for the team.

    @Martin P – Leigh was referring to the On-track incident, and it’s true that if it had been resolved there then none of this would have happened.

    Did the stewards come to the right conclusion eventually? Yes, but it took them far too long. If they weren’t so trigger happy in giving Trulli his penalty then McLaren would probably have gotten off with a slap on the wrist – they’re just looking for someone to blame because they’ve been made to look stupid yet again.

  110. Peter Freeman says:

    No penalty of any kind was required!

    What had happened it the stewards had failed to do their job and give a simple answer during the race as to weather or not Trulli was off the track and if Hamilton should be 3rd or 4th.

    So in light of their own incompetence and failure to do their job, they were probably looking to give one of the drivers a penalty somehow for something.

    I would guess that McLaren panicked and in a knee jerk reaction took evasive action (unwise as it was) to avoid the penalty landing on them.

    Everyone is having a go at Hamilton for his dishonesty, but really a MUCH bigger crisis is the shambles the FIA and their ignorant amateur stewards bring race after race.

  111. John says:

    Lewis has never been a great talker, but looking at his body language, the sound of his voice and the fact that he kept on saying sorry, surely that must mean he accepts his guilt.

    He doesn’t want to be labelled a liar, no one does and we’ve all lied at some point in our lives, so that would make us all liars if you want to go into technicalities..

    I feel sympathy.

  112. George says:

    Hahaha, very good facchetti

  113. George says:

    Every time McLaren or Lewis make a mistake they say ‘We’ve learned from it’, but have they really? It seems to me more of a standard responce rather than having any real meaning attached to it.

  114. George says:

    Ah thanks for reminding me, with the recent influx of comments it takes a couple of hours to catch up *hops off to other sites*

  115. Cort says:

    I’m sorry, but please stop this, now. You don’t give a person credit for admitting to being a liar AFTER they have been exposed and proved to have lied. Courage would have been to tell the truth on Sunday and defend Jarno Trulli. Or on Monday. Or Tuesday. Or Wednesday.

    Oh and by the way he shifted blame to Ryan and claimed he himself had been misled. What a weasel – he knew more than anyone what happened on the track and took a voluntary part in the deceit. How was he “misled” exactly?

  116. guy says:

    I agree too! I never understood why alonso was allowed to say one thing to the fia then allegedly try to use it against ron dennis in hungary?

  117. George says:

    Lets have a go at these then:

    Toyota wing: Didn’t they already fix this in Australia? Surely they wouldn’t have been able to race with an illegal wing.

    Williams KERS: I’m pretty sure they’re not using it at this track, at least no one has mentioned it.

    Ferrari mirrors: I think that Ferrari designed their mirrors like this to make use of a supposed loophole, but the other teams have put the little flaps on their sidepods without any trickery so I’d guess they just got caught out.

    Wheel covers: To be honest these seem slightly dangerous to me, anything that has a high probability of flying off at high speed should be reconsidered in the rules, I seem to remember quite a few popping off in Australia too.

    And agreed about moving on, we’re at the new race now and pretty much everything about the Hamilton situation has been said about a hundred times.

  118. Tyler says:

    Exactly. The whole thing was manufactured overnight and Ryan was the victim.

  119. Luciano says:

    I don’t feel so much sympathy. He has apologised but at the same time shifted the blame to someone else. Not such a heroic act….

  120. Mattw says:

    nail.. head..hit

  121. chaos says:

    But it’s bollocks and booring. Never ends until the next pathetic scandle is manufactured from nothing. This is a great site and I read it every day but I believe track action is a lot better to occupy my time.

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