Hamilton to steer clear of trouble Down Under

Lewis Hamilton is hoping this year's Australian Grand Prix weekend will be a far quieter affair for him personally than has been the case in the recent past.

In 2009, in his first race as world champion following his stunning success just a few months previously and in the most remarkable of circumstances, McLaren and Hamilton were caught in a web of deceit.

After finishing third, Hamilton was ultimately excluded from the classification after lying to stewards in a post-race investigation into an incident involving Jarno Trulli, then with Toyota.

Then last year, just weeks after sacking father Anthony as manager, the 26-year-old was charged on the eve of qualifying by Melbourne police for "hooning" – burning rubber in his hired Mercedes – an offence that earned him a Aus$500 (£280) fine.

Those two incidents have blotted Hamilton's copybook, so it is easy to appreciate his eagerness ahead of Sunday's season-opening race to want to stay out of the headlines other than for the right reasons.

"This year should be a little more dull for you guys [the media] – hopefully," Hamilton said. "Outside of the track I won't be doing any driving. I'll be keeping to myself in the hotel."

Hamilton is concerned that in the wake of what transpired a year ago, he might have become a marked man with the local police. "I think they might just pull me over just for the sake of it being me," he added.

On the flip side, Hamilton feels that in the eyes of the Australian public his stock has increased. "I get really good support. Surprisingly people really like me over there," said Hamilton. "I've always had decent support when I go to Australia. I think they can relate to me a little bit more, that I'm not a robot, saying, 'Ah, you're like one of us. Nice to meet you'. So I'm looking forward to going back and hopefully having a bit more support."

Hamilton will need all the support he can muster to assist him over the next few weeks if McLaren have failed to close the gap to their rivals that was apparent in testing.

Lacking in reliability and short on pace, McLaren's new car was at least a second adrift of Ferrari and reigning champions Red Bull after the last test in Barcelona.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most