Montreal: Lewis Hamilton looked forward to a winning weekend in Canada on Thursday after praising race stewards and making personal apologies to FIA president Jean Todt and insulted rivals.
Todt said this week that Formula One’s governing body could have handed Hamilton a lengthy ban for a Monaco Grand Prix outburst but had closed the matter after he received a letter from the McLaren driver.
“I could have asked the judicial court to address the problem but we never officially opened the case,” said the Frenchman. “He wrote to me and it was between him and the FIA.
“Maybe it would have been a better decision to send him to the judicial court and ban him for six Grands Prix or something,” added Todt. “But for me this thing is over.”
Hamilton, the 2008 world champion, told reporters at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve that his main motivation had been simply to do the right thing and move on.
“I just had time to reflect on the weekend and I wrote a sincere apology to Jean and to the FIA and I got a great letter back, so after that I was able to put it behind me and I’m very grateful to be here,” he said.
“I do want what’s best for the sport and I want to be able to contribute to improving the sport and making things great here.”
Hamilton had collided with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa and Williams rookie Pastor Maldonado, ending their races although he himself finished sixth, and called them ridiculous in a BBC television interview.
The Briton also wondered jokingly whether he was being singled out by stewards because he was black, and described their actions against him as a “joke”. He apologised to them immediately afterwards.
“Last week, coming back from the Grand Prix, I had some time to reflect on my behaviour and my weekend,” he said on Thursday, with Maldonado sitting behind him in a news conference.
“So 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 and to be able to put everything behind me.
“I’ve known Felipe since Formula Three, maybe GP2 and so have a relatively good relationship with him. I gave him a call and he had calmed down also and he was able to understand the position,” he said of Massa.
“I do quite a lot of overtaking…So sometimes it’s going to be right, sometimes not, but I think the stewards are doing a great job,” added the Briton.
Hamilton will be a favourite in Canada this weekend at the track where he took his first pole and Grand Prix win in 2007.
The 26-year-old, the only man to have beaten Red Bull’s champion Sebastian Vettel this year, has won twice in Canada in three visits and started all three races on pole.
“I never like to go into the weekend as favourite and I don’t like to be too upbeat. I’m not Muhammad Ali. I’m not going to come here and say this weekend’s going to be the best weekend ever,” Hamilton warned, however.
“I’m coming off a very tough weekend where I had good pace. I’m racing against some very, very talented drivers who are going to be quick as well and I’d rather do my talking on the track, so I’m hoping that our car works well here.”