In school, the naughty kids end up in the principal's office, and in Formula One, the boys are called into the race stewards' office. McLaren's Lewis Hamilton has been there quite a few times this season.
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton drives during the final practice session
prior to qualifying for the Indian GP at the Buddh International
Circuit on Saturday. PIC/Getty Images
The latest being as recent as Friday, when he ignored the yellow flag (meant to slow down) during the morning's practice. Subsequently, he was summoned by the race stewards and penalised three places on Sunday's starting grid.
Astonishingly, this was Hamilton's sixth encounter with race stewards this season, which he's anyway termed as his worst. But, he's more than aware of his follies this year. Speaking of what he needs to improve on next year for a better season, the Briton quipped: "I need to stay out of the stewards' office more often next year."
On a more serious note however, the 26-year-old 2008 World Champion has not only had issues on track on the professional front, but off the road on the personal front too. His recent split with girlfriend and singer Nicole Scherzinger has been a "serious distraction" and a "trying phase in his life."
His father, Anthony, recently said: "People will see a new Lewis next year." And it was good to see the champion driver open to turning over a new leaf in his life, even as he may have mocked the phrase itself. "I don't know how you turn over a new leaf," he said, with a broad smile, adding: "Life is like a puzzle. And as for me, I just have to go out there and live and breathe F1.
Nothing though can take away the fact that Hamilton still remains one of the most exciting drivers in F1. And yesterday, during qualifying for Sunday's inaugural Indian GP, he showed just why. He set the Buddh International Circuit ablaze displaying sheer grit to finish an impressive second only to reigning double champion Sebastian Vettel's ultra-powerful Red Bull machine.
And even though the penalty means he will begin in fifth position, he did sound a warning to his competitors. "My qualifying pace has been really good. Regardless of where I start, I'm still optimistic because this track offers some broad corners and that's great for overtaking," he said.
1: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull),
2: Mark Webber (Red Bull),
3: Fernando Alonso (Ferrari),
4: Jenson Button (McLaren),
5: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren),
6: Felipe Massa (Ferrari),
7: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes),
8: Adrian Sutil (Force India),
9: Sebastien Buemi (Toro Rosso), 10: Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso), 11: Vitaly Petrov (Lotus), 12: Michael Schumacher (Mercedes), 13: Paul di Resta (Force India), 24: Narain Karthikeyan (Hispania)