• Monaco Grand Prix

Hamilton slams penalties and fellow drivers

ESPNF1 Staff
May 29, 2011 « Webber rues slow first pit stop | »
Lewis Hamilton came together with Pastor Maldonado towards the end of the race © Sutton Images

Lewis Hamilton was left fuming after the stewards slapped him with two penalities during the Monaco Grand Prix.

Hamilton's problems started in qualifying when his best time was deleted for skipping a chicane and got worse when he was twice investigated by the stewards over the 78 lap race. He was given a drive-through penalty for making contact with Felipe Massa into the Loews Hairpin midway through the race and was then given a 20-second post-race penalty for a collision with Pastor Maldonado in the first corner towards the end of the race.

"You know what, out of six races I've been to the stewards five times - it's a joke, it's an absolute fricking joke," he told the BBC.

He made clear that he felt the other drivers should have given him more space in the two incidents.

"You can't overtake here and you very rarely ever get an opportunity," he added. "I was quite a lot quicker than Massa, I went up the inside and the guy turned so early and just turned in to me. I tried to go over the kerb to avoid him and we were stuck together so 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.

"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 and just crashed into me … it's just ridiculous. These drivers are absolute fricking ridiculous, it's stupid."

Hamilton suggested that the stewards should be more lenient to allow the drivers to put on an exciting race.

"It's not affecting my confidence as a driver, I just think people want to see motor racing and see overtaking and you get done for trying to overtake and trying to put on a show, you get done trying to make a move," he said. "Fair play if I really feel that I've gone too late and hit someone, then I'll put my hand up and say I really have caused an incident and I've been the stupid one, but it's not the case."

When asked why he had been the subject of more investigations than other drivers, Hamilton joked: "Maybe because I'm black, that's what Ali G says…"

He later apoligised to the stewards for the joke according to team principal Martin Whitmarsh.

"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," he said. "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."

But despite his disastrous weekend and evident frustration after the race, Hamilton is not giving up on the championship, which Sebastian Vettel now leads by 58 points.

"It's never too late," he said. "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 get it fixed for the last few laps. I really have to apologise to the fans for what I think is a bit of a shambles of an experience today they saw probably with me. I'll try my best to bounce back in the next race.

"I just try to keep my mouth shut and enjoy the rest of the season, which I'm sure is going to be an interesting one, but you can see he [Vettel] is walking away with it now."