Lewis Hamilton has admitted he “may not always get it right” after accusing Formula 1 bosses of “trying to stop him” at the Russian Grand Prix.
Hamilton lost the lead of the race as a result of a 10-second penalty for making two practice starts in the wrong place.
“I may not always react the way you want me to when tensions are high,” Hamilton posted on social media.
“But I am only human and I am passionate about what I do.”
He went on: “I’ll take my lessons and keep fighting on to the next one. I may not always get it right in the face of adversity.”
Hamilton was initially also given two penalty points on his licence for the incident, although these were later rescinded after Mercedes and Hamilton gave evidence that the team had instructed him that it was acceptable not to do his starts in the usual place.
Immediately after the race, Hamilton was asked whether he thought the penalty was excessive. He told Sky Sports: “It’s to be expected. They’re trying to stop me, aren’t they?”
A few minutes later, asked in the news conference for written media whether he felt F1 bosses really were trying to hold him back, Hamilton said: “I don’t necessarily think it’s for me.
“Whenever a team is at the front, they are under a lot of scrutiny. Everything we have on our car is being triple checked and triple checked. They are changing rules, such as the engine regs, lots of things to keep the racing exciting, I assume.
“I don’t know if the rules in terms of what happened today was anything to do with it, but naturally that’s how it feels. It feels we’re fighting uphill. But that’s OK. It’s not like I haven’t faced adversity before.”
In his message on social media on Tuesday, Hamilton said he was “learning and growing every day”.
Hamilton posted the message of his own volition, BBC Sport has been told. He had not been contacted by F1 bosses over his remarks.
Hamilton went into the race 55 points – more than two clear wins – ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the World Championship.
Bottas won the race and cut Hamilton’s lead to 44 points with seven races remaining.
Drivers criticise penalty system
Although Hamilton’s penalty points were removed, the incident highlighted dissatisfaction among the drivers as to the manner in which the system is applied.
Hamilton, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel all said that the points were being issued for the wrong reasons.
The penalty points system was introduced in a bid to stamp down on dangerous and reckless driving after current Haas driver Romain Grosjean was involved in a series of first-lap crashes in 2012.
But the incidents involving Hamilton in Sochi were the latest in a series of situations in which points have also been handed to drivers for incidents where there was no risk involved.
Hamilton said: “[Penalty points] from a driver’s point of view should be if you put somebody else in danger, if you crash into somebody. Of course [then] you should be getting penalty points. I did not harm anybody, didn’t put anyone in harm’s way.”
Verstappen added: “If it’s a crash you caused, I can understand they want to hand penalty points to calm you down.
“But things like this; Lewis didn’t do anything on purpose to create an issue. He just wanted to practise a start.
“Maybe it was not allowed there. OK. But he was already penalised enough by the penalty in the race. You don’t need to hand out penalty points for that. I guess we will talk about it in the next [drivers’] briefing we have and see if something will happen or not.”
Vettel said: “If you really do some crazy moves on the track and some dangerous driving, then they’re justified. But if you’re speeding in the pit lane or minor infringements, it’s probably not the point to apply penalty points.”