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Hamilton hugs Button, makes peace with McLaren

2010-03-30 10:40 BJT

LONDON - Lewis Hamilton has mended fences with McLaren a day after castigating his Formula One team for denying him a podium with their "fricking terrible" pitstop strategy at the Australian Grand Prix.

McLaren Formula One teammates Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button of Britain chat as they leave the track following the drivers parade at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne,Sunday, March 28, 2010. [Photo/Agencies]

McLaren Formula One teammates Lewis Hamilton
 and Jenson Button of Britain chat as they 
leave the track following the drivers parade
 at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in
 Melbourne,Sunday, March 28, 2010. 

"The team has explained to me their reasoning behind the second pitstop, and I can understand what they were trying to do," the 2008 world champion said on his website (www.lewishamilton.com) on Monday.

Hamilton had been chasing Renault's Robert Kubica for second place when McLaren told him to come in for a second change of tyres.

That dropped him back down the order and he ended up sixth after colliding with Red Bull's Australian Mark Webber on the penultimate lap. Kubica finished second behind Hamilton's winning team mate Jenson Button.

Hamilton, who had told BBC television after the race that he wanted to know who had made the call, said he now accepted that McLaren had been trying to protect him from being passed later in the race by Webber and Mercedes' Nico Rosberg.

"We are still learning about this year's tyres and the degradation, and perhaps we over-estimated the wear that the frontrunners were expecting to suffer," he said.

"It's something you learn from, and we'll use that knowledge to help us improve throughout this season."

Hamilton, whose eventful weekend included being stopped by police for what he called "over-exuberant" driving in Melbourne on Friday night, said he was proud of a race that still ranked as one of his best.

"My race was awesome. I really enjoyed it. I drove one of the hardest races I've ever done," added the 25-year-old.

"I think it was a very clean race - I had some fantastic battles, made some passes and showed good pace. It's the sort of race I love.

"Hopefully, too, it will have looked good on the television. While you're never racing purely for the crowds, we really wanted to be able to put on a show for the spectators and the people watching at home on TV. I hope they enjoyed it."

Button's win was the world champion's first for McLaren after just two starts and Hamilton made clear there was no frostiness between them.

"As soon as Jenson finished in the press conference, I went down to see him and I gave him a big hug. You can't take anything away from his drive in Australia - it was faultless, and he thoroughly deserved the victory," said Hamilton.

"You always love to win, but if it can't be for me, then I want it to be my team mate."

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Editor: Su Yu | Source: Agencies