An older, wiser Lewis Hamilton now views last season's 'lie-gate' scandal as nothing more than “a stepping stone” in his life.
It is almost a year since Hamilton was caught lying to stewards following the 2009 Australian GP. After starting 18th and last on the Melbourne grid in a woeful McLaren, the 25-year-old drove brilliantly to finish fourth. Immediately after the race Hamilton was promoted to third after Jarno Trulli, then with Toyota, was penalised for passing him under the safety car.
However, Hamilton was ultimately disqualified after the stewards decided he and McLaren had provided misleading evidence. A few days later Hamilton apologised, and has since revealed the affair led to him considering his future in the sport.
Approaching the anniversary of one of the turning points of his life, Hamilton said: “I've always had great experiences here and so I don't look at last year's experience as a bad one. I look at it as a stepping stone in my life, something I learned a whole lot from.
“Every time I've come here, my first year in Melbourne I got a podium position in my first GP, and then in 2008 I came here and I won."
Last year Hamilton was hindered by his car. “2009 was a tough year altogether. I learned a lot throughout about team building and lifting up the team," he said. “The team does so much, but at the end of the day I'm the one who has to jump in and get the results for them."
Much of the focus this year was on if Hamilton and his teammate Jenson Button would gel. There had been tensions when Hamilton was partnered with Fernando Alonso.
“The thing is I've had different experiences with different teammates," Hamilton told Autosport.com. “Some you have an aggressive tension between, where clearly you want to beat each other. But with Jenson we are more just chilled friends,” he said.