SINGAPORE, Sept 23, 2011 (Gordon Howard / AFP) - Lewis Hamilton admits that he "shut himself up" after his close encounter with Michael Schumacher at Monza -- to avoid a war of words in the media.
The 26-year-old Englishman, who was locked in a thrilling and sometimes dangerous battle with the seven-time world champion in Italy earlier this month, said he wanted to have a peaceful life and to avoid controversy.
On the eve of this weekend's potentially decisive Singapore Grand Prix, the McLaren driver said his decision not to speak his mind was one of the lessons he had learned this season.
The 2008 world champion said: "I was disappointed that I couldn't do better in the race. I was just keeping my mouth shut. It has done me a lot of good. I have been relaxed the last few days and not had too many problems.
"I think you [the media] are constantly asking me what lessons I have learned, and that is one lesson I was able to apply that day -- because usually I am very, very passionate, and very open, and very blunt with the things I say."
"Because I am not scared to say what I feel, it can be used against me," he added. "And at that time I was able to control myself. And that is what life is about, being in control."
Hamilton suggested Germany's Schumacher had broken the one-move defending rule during their scrap in the Italian race, but added that he did not wish to take the matter any further.
"I believe it is only one move, you have to stick with it. You are not allowed to go back," said Hamilton, who was given a reprimand earlier this year for his defensive driving against Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari in Malaysia.
He said: "In Malaysia I wasn't blocking, I was two or three car lengths ahead of Fernando -- and I was trying to break the tow because it has such long straights." But the Britain said the situation at Monza was different.
"Michael was defending so it was a little bit of a different situation, but it has not been clarified. Constantly they are saying you are only allowed to do one manoeuvre."
Asked if he was seeking clarification from governing body the FIA, Hamilton said: "I am generally quite clear.
"Now after Malaysia and I got a penalty, I am clear I am not allowed to try and break the tow. And I am also clear that under braking I can only make one manoeuvre and not go back, and I don't need to ask any questions."
Schumacher also played down the matter when asked in Singapore about the events at Monza. He said he was not surprised when McLaren team boss Ross Brawn ordered him to make room for Hamilton.
"I think it was good that Ross came on the radio, simply to confirm that we had been operating on the edge and to be careful. It was an exciting one that the majority enjoyed and so did I." Both Hamilton and his Mercedes team-mate and compatriot Jenson Button praised defending world champion Sebastian Vettel's outstanding season for Red Bull with the German on the brink of a second consecutive world title.
"He has been exceptional this year," said Hamilton. "He has really driven really, really well."
"His persona, his attitude I think has been very professional, he has made very few mistakes -- and even the two small mistakes have not been very costly," Hamilton added.
Vettel, last year's world champion, has scored eight victories this season and has finished on the podium 12 times in 13 races.
Button said: "He looks very confident in the car he is driving. You don't win a world championship in a bad car, you win a championship in a good car, but he has got a great car and done the perfect job."