Shanghai: Lewis Hamilton has promised not to swerve his Formula One car to shake off pursuing drivers while also declaring himself baffled by the fuss over the tactics he used in the last race.
Asked after qualifying at the Chinese Grand Prix on Saturday whether other drivers’ complaints amounted to whingeing, the 2008 world champion told reporters: “You can write that if you want”.
Hamilton weaved in front of Renault’s Russian rookie Vitaly Petrov two weeks ago in Malaysia, a defensive move for which he received a warning.
Several rivals said the swerving was dangerous and, in the drivers’ meeting at the Chinese Grand Prix on Friday, demanded clarification about whether it was against the rules.
Hamilton said F1 race director Charlie Whiting had already set the record straight.
“He gave us a warning for that not to happen again. I discussed it with him,” the McLaren driver said. “He made it clear that’s not what he wants to see and so we just don’t do that again. Lesson learned and we move forward.”
Hamilton added he was unsure why the drivers had made a big deal of it on Friday.
“I didn’t understand why everybody was fussing about it but it wasn’t really much of a problem for me,” said the Briton. “They seemed to be talking about it for some time.”
Jenson Button, his team mate and reigning world champion, interjected to say: “I think it was clarification, wasn’t it?”
Hamilton agreed, saying: “Yes, it is just with the ruling of how many times you can move when defending.
“It’s not that clear in what is called defending and breaking the tow. That’s not made clear.”
The Briton, who has produced superb drives to earn two sixth places in the last two races, will have his work cut again on Sunday.
He led for much of qualifying but was slower in the decisive third and final session and had to settle for sixth spot on the grid, one behind Button.
McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh said the team struggled in the final session.
“We went backwards from Q2 (the second session) ... you can’t do that at the highest level and expect to be on the front row. So a bit disappointing, we’ll go and look at the data and see where we go from here,” he said.