McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh believes the media storm surrounding Lewis Hamilton's driving in Australia has been blown out of all proportion.
Hamilton was stopped by the police in Melbourne on Friday night for a piece of sideways driving as he exited the Albert Park circuit onto the local roads. That incident has become front page news worldwide and Whitmarsh admitted that the impact of the affair had played on the former World Champion's mind during qualifying on Saturday. However, he felt that there had been perhaps too much scrutiny placed on the matter.
"We've all done silly things in cars that we hope people haven't been watching from time to time," said Whitmarsh. "That is the nature for most of us. The fact is that Jenson and Lewis, as World Champions and F1 drivers, are under a lot more scrutiny than the rest of us [in this press conference] room.
"Do I think it has been blown out of proportion? Yes, of course it has, but that is the pressure that is on people like Jenson and Lewis – that they are going to be scrutinized to a much heavier level than most of us."
He added: "People will judge them as they see fit, but I think most people who read about [the incident] will have the proper perspective, regardless of what the headlines say."
When asked to clarify remarks he made that he felt Hamilton had been left fragile by the affair, Whitmarsh said: "I was asked if was Lewis distressed by the events of [Friday] night and the answer is, he was. Lewis takes his responsibility of being World Champion and being an ambassador of F1 for this sport and this team very, very seriously.
"I've known Lewis for many years, and I know how he would feel about letting people down. If any of us other than Jenson and Lewis here, had performed like that as we left the circuit then people would have laughed and smiled about it. There is a very heavy responsibility and burden placed upon their shoulders, and they are judged to a different level than us. Most of us, fortunately, don't have to endure that, and generally both these guys deal with it very well. Lewis took the matter seriously, and he immediately apologized."