Contrite Hamilton says he was misled by McLaren

Hamilton was excluded from the classification for last weekend's race after it was determined that he and the team's sporting director, Dave Ryan, had deliberately misled stewards in their investigation into an incident towards the end of the race.

Ryan has been suspended by the team and Hamilton, the reigning world champion, still faces the possibility of further sanctions from the FIA, which could include suspension or disqualification from the championship.

"In Melbourne I had a great race and as soon as I got out of the car I did TV interviews at the back of the garage and straightaway I told them what had happened during the race," Hamilton said.

"Straight after that we were requested to appear before the stewards and whilst waiting for the stewards, I was instructed and misled by the team manager to withhold information and that's what I did.

"I sincerely apologise to the stewards for wasting their time but really, I'm very sorry for the situation and for my team and for Dave, because he's been a good member of the team for many years and I don't think that it was his intention. He's a good guy.

"When I went into the meeting, I had no intention (to lie). I just wanted to tell my story and see what happened. I was misled and that's just how it went.

"I would like to say a big sorry to all my fans who have believed in me and supported me through the years. They watched me for what I am the last two years - that's who I am.

"I am not a liar. I'm not a dishonest person. I'm a team player and every time I've been informed to do something, I've done it.

"This time I realise that it's a huge mistake and I'm learning from it.

"I apologise for not speaking to you (the media) yesterday but it's a lot to take in and a lot to deal with it so I'm hear to apologise to everyone."

Hamilton felt that he owed it to his fans and supporters to explain his side of the story.

"This is not an easy thing for anyone to do, to put their hand up and to step back and to realise that they're in the wrong," he added.

"But the fact is I was in the wrong and I felt that I owed it to my fans and I owed it to my people to let them know.

"I was misled - it's easy to be misled sometimes - but that was the situation and that's why I'm here.

"I acted as a team member. When I've been asked to do something, I've generally done it.

"I didn't have time to think about what I was going to do. I went in and I did it and felt awkward and very uncomfortable and I think that the stewards could see that.

"I've never felt so bad. Try to put yourself in my position. As I've said, I'm not a liar and I've not gone through life being a liar or dishonest. So for people to say that and for the world to think that way, what can I say?"

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