Spa-francorchamps, Belgium, Aug 29, 2011 (AFP) - Lewis Hamilton on Monday admitted he was at fault and apologised to his McLaren team and to Sauber rival Kamui Kobayashi after reviewing their crash in Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix.
The 26-year-old Briton, whose impetuosity has become a frequent problem over the last two years, said he had made an error of judgement and not given his Japanese opponent sufficient space.
Writing on Twitter, Hamilton said: "After watching the replay, I realise it was my fault 100 per cent. I didn't give Kobayashi enough room though I thought I was past. "Apologies to Kamui and to my team. The team deserves better from me."
Hamilton made his spectacular exit from a dramatic race, won by defending champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull, when he collided with Kobayashi on lap 13.
In June, he retired from the Canadian Grand Prix after a collision with his own McLaren team-mate compatriot Jenson Button.
On Sunday, Button finished a stirring second behind series leader Vettel and the German's Red Bull team-mate Australian Mark Webber.
For Hamilton to change his mind and issue a public apology may be seen as a hint that he is considering his approach to races more carefully.
In the aftermath of Sunday's race, former three-times world champion Austrian Niki Lauda said he believed Hamilton was "super-talented and a really great driver" but that his career was threatened by "making so many stupid decisions and being in so many crazy accidents and incidents."
Hamilton has been the subject of much analysis previously this year and been criticised for attracting trouble through his own blinkered self-belief and impetuosity.
This coupled with his tendency to take a 'victim' stance when caught up in problems has attracted increasing levels of controversy. Hamilton, too often, appears to race as if he feels he has to compete against the whole world.
After Sunday's crash had eliminated him from a race where he had a good chance of fighting for a win, he said he did not believe he was to blame.
"I'm not really quite sure (what happened) to be honest," he said. "I just remember hitting the wall pretty hard.
"It's a bit unfortunate for the team, we were in a good position and as far as I was concerned I was ahead of whoever it was I was racing and then I just got hit by them and that was my race over.
"That's motor racing. There have been a lot of races where we haven't finished this year, so that's just another one of them..."
If he is to rescue his career - at the level of driving to contest world titles - he has to acquire the sober judgement that saw Button rise through the field after starting 13th on the grid and at one time running 19th.
He might also take a leaf out of seven-times champion Michael Schumacher's book, too. The 42-year-old German, who started 24th and last on the grid for Mercedes on the 20th anniversary of his F1 debut, drove to fifth in classic style and without a scrape of his own making.
For Hamilton, this year's race for the drivers' title may be over, but he has much to prove in the final seven races of the season starting in Italy next month.
Composure, not confusion, is required.. And consistency, not consternation is the desired outcome.