Lewis Hamilton has downplayed his confrontation with Felipe Massa in the aftermath of their collision in Sunday's Singapore GP, saying he still respects the Brazilian driver.
“There's not much to say about it really,” he said, speaking at a promotional event in Bangalore on Tuesday. “We had a coming together in the race; it was a racing incident; that's what happens. Afterwards, he was a bit angry, a bit forceful at the end, but I was able to just ignore it and move on. This is the most competitive sport in the world; there will be incidents like this. I have a lot of respect for Felipe still, regardless of how he has behaved.”
Hamilton was also asked for his thoughts on the race itself, where he finished fifth following a drive-through penalty for running into Massa from behind. “It was a bit of a disaster,” he felt. “It was not a great race for me. It's one of those races where you learn. I still learnt something from it coming from the back.”
Earlier, Hamilton entertained a thousand-strong crowd on a stretch of the NICE road here, spinning doughnuts and driving back and forth in his McLaren MP4-23 from 2008. The 26-year-old said the 300m stretch had limited him to driving “not very fast”.
“There was not enough space, and there were a lot of people on the sides; it was quite dangerous. I might have got up to 150km/hr — nothing really serious.” This was Hamilton's first visit to Bangalore (fourth in India) and the British racing driver clearly appeared astonished by the turnout.
“This is incredible,” he said. “I had never expected to see so many people. I've never seen such a reaction. This is even more hardcore than the British GP. I don't think those fans are anywhere near as passionate.”
Hamilton said he was excited by the prospect of a race in the country, while admitting that he knew little of the circuit that will host next month's Indian Grand Prix.
“I have only seen some small images of the track,” he said.
“We have not tested on it yet. They've not allowed us much access to the place at the moment.
“But I'm excited; it's great for India. I never knew they would have a GP here. If we have a crowd like this at the Indian GP, it will be insane.”
Keywords: Lewis Hamilton