Lewis Hamilton admitted that he deliberately chose not to criticize Michael Schumacher over his defensive driving in the Italian Grand Prix, because he wanted to avoid getting involved in a war of words with the seven-time champion.
Schumacher and Hamilton were locked in battle for much of the race at Monza, and opinions have varied on whether or not the German went too far in trying to hold onto his place. Hamilton had brushed aside questions about Schumacher in the immediate aftermath of the Monza race, and said in Singapore that that had been a deliberate tactic.
"I was disappointed that I couldn't do better in the race. I was just keeping my mouth shut," he said. "It has done me a lot of good. I have been relaxed the last few days and not had too many problems."
He added: "I think you [the media] are constantly asking me what lessons I have learned, and that is one lesson I was able to apply that day. Because I am very, very passionate, and very open, and very blunt with the things I say. And because I am not scared to say what I feel, it can be used against me – and at that time I was able to control myself. And that is what life is about, being in control."
Hamilton suggested that Schumacher had broken the one-move defending rule during their battle at Monza, but said he did not wish to take the matter any further.
"I believe it is only one move, you have to stick with it. You are not allowed to go back," said Hamilton, who was given a reprimand earlier this year for his defensive driving against Fernando Alonso in Malaysia. "In Malaysia, I wasn't blocking, I was two or three car lengths ahead of Fernando – and I was trying to break the tow because it has such long straights.
"I was breaking the tow and, in my opinion, the rules say you are only allowed to make one maneuver when defending. I wasn't defending; I was just trying to break the tow, which is why I did it. But Michael was defending so it was a little bit of a different situation, but it has not been clarified. Constantly they are saying you are only allowed to do one maneuver."
When asked if he was going to seek clarification of the matter from the FIA, Hamilton said: "I am generally quite clear. Now after Malaysia and I got a penalty, I am clear I am not allowed to try and break the tow. And I am also clear that under braking I can only make one maneuver and not go back, and I don't need to ask any questions. I know that. If I were to do that maneuver I would get a penalty, so I wouldn't do that."
Schumacher played down the matter when asked in Singapore about the events at Monza. Questioned about if he was surprised team principal Ross Brawn had to order him over the radio to leave room for Hamilton, Schumacher said: "No, I was not surprised. I think it was good that Ross came on the radio, simply to confirm that we had been operating on the edge and to be careful. It was an exciting one [duel] that the majority enjoyed and so did I."