LONDON (Reuters) – Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton, who accused stewards of seeking to stop him winning at last weekend’s Russian Grand Prix, said on Tuesday that he was “only human” and would continue to learn.
In what read like a veiled apology, but did not refer directly to the race in Sochi or the stewards, the Mercedes driver posted a message on Instagram thanking his fans for their support.
“I may not always get it right in the face of adversity,” wrote the Briton, who is one win from equalling Michael Schumacher’s all-time record 91.
“I may not always react the way you want me to when tensions are high, but I am only human after all and I am passionate about what I do.
“I’m learning and growing every day, and I’ll take my lessons and keep fighting on to the next one. Thank you to those who continue to support and are right there fighting with me.”
Hamilton, a six times world champion, finished third in Sochi after starting on pole position.
He collected two penalties, totalling 10 seconds, for practising starts in the wrong place before the race had started.
Asked if the punishment seemed excessive, he told Sky Sports: “Of course it is. But it’s to be expected. They’re trying to stop me, aren’t they?”
Race director Michael Masi rejected the accusations after the race.
“If Lewis wants to raise something, as I have said to him before… the door is always open,” he said.
“We have the stewards as an independent judiciary to adjudicate… there was an infringement and it doesn’t matter if it was Lewis Hamilton or any other one of the 19 drivers.”
Formula One’s managing director for motorsport Ross Brawn said on Monday that Hamilton should lick his wounds and learn from his mistakes.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin; editing by Ken Ferris)