Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Hamilton apologizes for racial 'joke'

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MONACO -- Lewis Hamilton apologized to stewards at the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday after jokingly suggesting that he was being penalized because he is black.

The McLaren driver was given two drive-through penalties following incidents with Ferrari's Felipe Massa and Williams' Pastor Maldonado during Sunday's race, won by Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel.

"It's an absolute... joke," Hamilton told the BBC. "I've been to see the stewards five times out of six this season.

"Maybe it's because I'm black. That's what Ali G says," Hamilton added, in reference to the fictional television character made famous by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen.

But Hamilton later said he had been to see the stewards to "make peace."

"What I said was a bit of a joke, which wasn't funny at the time," Hamilton told Britain's Press Association. "I'll just try and keep my mouth shut and try to enjoy the rest of the season."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 30, 2011 C2

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