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Last Updated: Friday April 03 2009 14:02 GMT

Hamilton admits F1 points row lie

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton has admitted he did lie about what happened at the Australian Grand Prix, but only because he was told to by his McLaren team.

Hamilton has had the points he earned in that race taken away, and his reputation has been damaged badly.

Speaking in Malaysia ahead of Sunday's Grand Prix, he said the problems he's had since are: "definitely the worst thing I've experienced in my life".

One of McLaren's bosses, Dave Ryan, has been suspended for his actions.

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton says sorry about F1 row

Hamilton said: "I was instructed and misled by my team manager to withhold information and that's what I did. I sincerely apologise to the stewards for wasting their time."

What happened at the race is very confusing, but now more information has been released, it's getting clearer.

So what went on in Melbourne?

Towards the end of the race the safety car went out onto the track. At that point Toyota driver Jarno Trulli was in fourth and Hamilton was in third.

Then Trulli overtook Hamilton while the safety car was out, which is against the rules of the sport.

A meeting took place after the race that Hamilton and Ryan were at and they told the stewards what had happened in their opinion.

Jarno Trulli leads Lewis Hamilton at the Australian Grand Prix
Trulli overtook Hamilton while the safety car was on the track

Trulli was given a 25-second penalty by race officials, pushing him down to 12th place and moving Hamilton up to third.

At the meeting, Hamilton was asked if he slowed down to let Trulli overtake him and he said he hadn't.

But later in the week a recording from the race revealed that Hamilton HAD slowed down to let Trulli through, after being told to by his McLaren team.

That meant Hamilton had lied to officials, which is why his points were taken away and he was disqualified from the race.

"Deliberately misleading"

Hamilton says he was only doing what he was told, but Formula One bosses have said his team was "deliberately misleading" when speaking to the stewards.

That means they knew what they were saying wasn't right, and were trying to convince stewards something else had happened.

In the news conference Hamilton said: "I could not tell you how sorry I am for the embarrassment.

Lewis Hamilton on track in Malaysia
Hamilton is in Malaysia ahead of the Grand Prix on Sunday

"When I went into the meeting, I had no intention (to lie). I just wanted to tell my story and see what happened. I was misled and that's just how it went.

"I want to say sorry to all my fans. I am not a liar or a dishonest person, I am a team player. If the team ask me to do something, I generally do it.

"But I felt awkward and uncomfortable.

"This is not an easy thing to do, to step back and realise I was in the wrong. But I was in the wrong, I was misled."

The next race in the Formula One season is in Malaysia on Sunday morning.