Hamilton determined to learn from mistakes
Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton says he is a normal person who has learned from his mistakes and moved on from the acrimony and anger that overshadowed the first part of the season.
"I am not perfect, I am not a politician, I say things wrong every now and then," the 24-year-old McLaren driver told British reporters at the Monaco Grand Prix.
Shaking hands with each and every one of his critics in the room, the Briton signalled that he was willing to mend fences and start afresh.
"You try to learn from those experiences, and carry them with you and try to grow," he said.
Hamilton came in for heavy criticism after he and his team were excluded from the season-opening Australian Grand Prix for deliberately misleading stewards.
He made a public apology at the next race in Malaysia but his relationship with the media deteriorated after that, with the champion coming across as terse and guarded.
Hamilton said he had simply needed time to reflect, analyse and understand.
"You can't just get on with things, you have to be able to analyse it so you don't make the same mistake again and move on," he explained.
Formula One's first black driver, who grew up on a working class estate in England with a father doing multiple jobs to make ends meet, said he should not be put on a pedestal.
"Whilst we look like superstars and everything we live pretty normal lives," he said.
"If anything your apartment may be bigger than mine. I've got a nice neat place, nothing special, nothing spectacular. I live a normal life in Geneva. Generally, away from everything I live a really normal life.
"I am a normal person; a human being," he added.
"People look at me and look at superstars and expect so much from them, superheroes or something, and we are normal people."
The Briton rejected a suggestion that his father's influence, and the closeness of their relationship, had made it harder for him to deal with the fallout of the lying controversy.
"Me and my dad have a fantastic relationship," he said. "If anything it (the crisis) strengthened it. We've grown closer through the experience.
"He's the one that is the backbone, the one that gives me that support. He's never ever failed," he added.
"He's been to every single race throughout my whole career and I've been to a lot of races since I was eight years old. He has always backed me up, always supported me whether I am right or wrong. And he's helped me get around it and learn from it."
Hamilton also paid tribute to Ron Dennis, the former McLaren team boss who served as his mentor for a decade and guided him from karting to become Formula One's youngest champion last season.
Dennis, still a McLaren shareholder, stepped away from the sport in the wake of the spying controversy.
"I miss Ron," he said. "My relationship with Ron is still very strong. I miss having him around. The paddock feels a little bit emptier without him here."
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