Lewis Hamilton launches attack on Monaco stewards
Lewis Hamilton launched a furious attack on stewards after twice being penalised for incidents during his race to sixth place in Monaco.
"It's an absolute frickin' joke," he said. "I've been to see the stewards five times out of six this season."
Asked why that was the case, he replied apparently in jest: "Maybe it's because I'm black. That's what Ali G says."
McLaren driver Hamilton later visited stewards to explain his comments and will not be charged with disrepute.
"They said at the end that they would make sure other people in the FIA understand," stated Hamilton, the 2008 world champion.
"They said that for anybody who has heard it and misunderstood, that they'll clarify it with them and it won't go any further than the meeting room.
"But what I said was a bit of a joke, which wasn't funny at the time.
"I made them aware that when emotions are high, and it's very intense at the end of those kind of races, you don't always say the right thing, and the joke didn't come at the most appropriate time.
"So I went there, made that clear to them, we've made our peace. They accepted my explanation, they understood. They said 'We've all competed before and we understand the passion, where you are coming from', and we all shook hands afterwards.
"The weekend was tough, I feel like I've had everything thrown at me, and I've managed to catch it and deal with it the best I could."
Hamilton received a drive-through penalty for a brush with Ferrari's Felipe Massa, and was later penalised 20 seconds for a late tangle with Pastor Maldonado of Williams - a penalty which did not affect the McLaren man's finishing position.
Immediately after the race, Hamilton said: "Massa held me up in qualifying, I got the penalty. He turned in to me [during the race], I got the penalty. These drivers are ridiculous. It's stupid."
A heated Hamilton told BBC Sport that he felt victimised by events at recent races and complained that he had done his best to provide entertainment by going for his overtaking opportunities.
"People want to see racing," the Englishman said. "But you get done trying to put on a show, trying to make a move. Fair play, if I feel I've gone too late I'd hold my hand up to admit I've caused an incident. But it's not the case.
"I'll just try and keep my mouth shut and try to enjoy the rest of the season.
"It's not too late [to win the world championship] but it's not looking great. I gave my all today and the team did a great job. It's character-testing, whether it's right or wrong. I'm going to go chill, do some jet-skiing, and try to stay out of trouble."
BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard said that it is sometimes difficult for drivers to control their emotions in the immediate aftermath of a race.
"Driving racing cars is a very frustrating thing at times because you only see your world through the little aperture in your helmet, without the benefit of video replays," Coulthard commented.
"When Lewis has had the opportunity to look through the race, I'm sure he might have a slightly different view on thing.
"But they are interviewed when they have just been driving a car for one hour and 40 minutes around one of the most challenging tracks in the world. He's coming off a massive adrenaline high."
Massa, who crashed out in his Ferrari in the tunnel moments after Hamilton had attempted to dive down the inside at the Loews Hairpin, called for the sport's authorities to crack down on Hamilton's aggressive driving style.
"What he did today was unbelievable. Not just with me, but with other drivers as well," Massa said.
"I think he needs to be penalised again, and in a good way, otherwise he doesn't learn. They [the FIA] need to think about something for him, or he will not learn."
The McLaren driver now trails Red Bull's championship leader Sebastian Vettel, the winner in Monaco, by 58 points.
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh acknowledged that Hamilton had endured a frustrating afternoon.
"Immediately after the race Lewis was very down, and during a post-race TV interview he made a poor joke about his penalties that referenced Ali G," Whitmarsh commented.
"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.
"I guess the reality is that, if you start anywhere other than at the front of the grid here in Monte Carlo, you're always going to run the risk of getting involved in incidents - especially if, like Lewis, you're a forceful driver who never, ever, gives up.
"But that's Lewis. That's why he's such a fantastic driver - and that's why watching him race is so thrilling. So, yes, he's disappointed, because he's been seriously quick all weekend here, but that's Monte-Carlo; that's racing; that's life."
BBC Sport's F1 commentator Martin Brundle said Hamilton might have to adjust his thinking to stop frustration getting the better of him.
"The problem with Lewis is that it's always someone's fault," Brundle said. "You wonder if he needs a bit of a mindset change on that.
"To make the overtakes as he does you've got to be pretty adventurous. Lewis had to take some risks today, and he's been so unlucky all weekend. There was some frustration in his driving - but it can't always be the other guy's fault."