Lewis Hamilton has insisted the costly penalties he incurred during the 2020 season “won’t happen again” – but he will keep “trying to find an edge”.
In three races, Hamilton was sanctioned by the stewards and while it did not stop him from marching to a record-equalling seventh World Championship title, he would almost certainly have won more than 11 times but for those indiscretions.
Each occasion was for a different type of misdemeanour. There was a mid-race incident with Alex Albon in the opening Austrian Grand Prix, while the Mercedes team were at fault when Hamilton was called into the pits under a red light while leading the Italian Grand Prix.
The biggest mistake on the 35-year-old Briton’s part was when he performed two separate practice starts in the wrong place at the Russian Grand Prix, that being a safety issue as they were executed on a part of the track where cars were passing at high speed.
For a time that day, it looked as though Hamilton may be in danger of racking up enough penalty points on his super-licence to miss a race as he was dangerously close to the threshold, until the stewards swiftly revoked those additional points after the race.
The World Champion claimed afterwards “they are trying to stop me”, although he has subsequently admitted that comment was “a human reaction in the heat of the moment”.
While still not agreeing with all the decisions made by the stewards, Hamilton insisted he is trying to enhance his relationship with the race officials and that he has learned going forwards about how he can stay within the rules.
“With the FIA and with the stewards, I think there’s been a growth of respect between us and understanding,” Hamilton told RaceFans.
“I still don’t think those penalties were the necessary penalties. But it is what it is and it’s not my job to come up with what the penalties should be.
“I learnt a lesson from it and they won’t be able to catch me out for that again, that’s for sure.
“I’m just going to be very vigilant and diligent moving forwards. And not only as an athlete, I’m always trying to find an edge. I’m always trying to find that extra bit.
“It’s a fine line between being over the edge and beneath it. It’s fine if that one was over the edge. I learnt from it and it won’t happen again.”