LONDON, May 31, 2011 (AFP) - Britain's Lewis Hamilton apologised Tuesday for criticising fellow drivers Felipe Massa and Pastor Maldonado after colliding with both men during last weekend's incident-packed Monaco Grand
Hamilton collided with Brazilian driver Massa, competing for Ferrari and Venezuela's Maldonado, driving for Williams, during Sunday's race won by defending world champion and runaway leader Sebastian Vettel, the German who drives for the Red Bull team.
The 26-year-old Hamilton, world champion in 2008, was given a drive-through penalty for each offence, the second taken retrospectively as a 20-second time penalty after the race ended.
Both Massa and Maldonado were knocked out of the race by the incidents.
Hamilton blasted the stewards in comments he later retracted and slammed Massa and Maldonado as "ridiculous".
However, the 26-year-old McLaren driver used his Twitter feed to try to clear the air with his fellow competitors on Tuesday, saying: "Hey guys. I wanted to apologise 4 last weekends (sic) performance & also my comments after, I never meant to offend no1," tweeted Hamilton.
"I would also like to say thank u 2 everyone on here, 4 their positive messages & also 2 the angry messages. I can respect them both.
"2 Massa & Maldonado, with the greatest respect I apologise if I offended u. Both of u r fantastic drivers who I regard highly.
"2 my fans lost & my fans won, I wish u nothing but love & happiness. God Bless u. Onwards & upwards, Montreal next. Lewis."
After seeing the stewards following the Monaco Grand Prix, Hamilton told BBC television he had been called before them five times in six races and described it as "a 'frickin joke'", adding he felt he was picked on regularly "...maybe, because I am black!"
He later saw the stewards again to apologise and explain his remarks were delivered in the heat of the moment during a post-race rant when his emotions ran away with him. He said his hint at racism was a badly-chosen joke.
British motor racing great Sir Jackie Stewart told Hamilton on Monday to accept the stewards' criticisms.
"When you are a driver, you don't see it from the other side. They get all the angles," said Stewart, three-times a Formula One world champion.
"They get the videos and they can sit up there and get all the replays. So they analyse it even better than the man in the cockpit."
Hamilton is currently second in the drivers championship to Vettel but the German has a huge 58 point lead over his nearest challenger after six races.
The season continues with the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal on June 12.