Hamilton wary of Melbourne police one year on

Lewis Hamilton hopes Formula One`s season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne will be a bit of a bore this weekend -- off the track, if not on it.

Last Updated: Mar 23, 2011, 09:59 AM IST

London: Lewis Hamilton hopes Formula One`s season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne will be a bit of a bore this weekend -- off the track, if not on it.

After being caught in a storm over lying to race stewards in 2009 and then being stopped by the police and fined for reckless driving last year, McLaren`s 2008 world champion said he would be extra careful.
If he sticks to his plan, he will not even need to keep a wary eye on his rear view mirror on the journey to and from the circuit.

"This year should be a little more dull for you guys (reporters) hopefully," said the Briton, a winner at Albert Park in his championship season.

"Outside of the track I won`t be doing any driving, I`ll be keeping to myself in the hotel," he told reporters, before slightly modifying his stance when asked whether he would really not be driving.

"Probably. I might just avoid it. I think they might just pull me over just for the sake of it being me."

"Generally I always drive to and from the track, but probably on race day I might not."

Hamilton was fined A$500 dollars ($506.3) by Melbourne Magistrates Court after he spun the rear wheels of his road car on a public street in March last year and was charged with "intentional loss of control of a motor vehicle".

The Mercedes was impounded by police.

In 2009, Hamilton had to issue a public apology after he was found to have "deliberately misled" stewards in a post-race controversy that saw him disqualified from third place.

The 26-year-old arrived in Melbourne this year with his hopes revived by McLaren making major changes to a car that has looked off the pace and unreliable in pre-season testing in Spain.

Team boss Martin Whitmarsh said on Monday that McLaren hoped to gain a second a lap with a new floor and simpler exhaust system.

London bookmakers William Hill said on Tuesday that the public appeared unconvinced it was a winner, however, with odds of 9-1 on a Hamilton victory in Australia and 16-1 on team mate and 2009 world champion Jenson Button.
Red Bull`s world champion Sebastian Vettel was the 9-4 favourite with Ferrari`s Fernando Alonso at 3-1 and Australian Mark Webber 9-2.

The bookmaker also offered odds of 12-1 that both McLarens fail to finish Sunday`s race.

Bureau Report