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Rediff.com  » Sports » Hamilton wary of Melbourne police one year on

Hamilton wary of Melbourne police one year on

March 22, 2011 20:16 IST

Lewis Hamilton hopes Formula One's season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne will be a bit of a bore this weekend -- off the track, if not on it.

After being caught in a storm over lying to race stewards in 2009 and then being stopped by the police and fined for reckless driving last year, McLaren's 2008 world champion said he would be extra careful.

If he sticks to his plan, he will not even need to keep a wary eye on his rear view mirror on the journey to and from the circuit.

"This year should be a little more dull for you guys (reporters) hopefully," said the Briton, a winner at Albert Park in his championship season.

"Outside of the track I won't be doing any driving, I'll be keeping to myself in the hotel," he said, before slightly modifying his stance when asked whether he would really not be driving.

Lewis Hamilton"Probably. I might just avoid it. I think they might just pull me over just for the sake of it being me.

"Generally I always drive to and from the track, but probably on race day I might not," he added.

Hamilton was fined A$500 dollars ($506.3) by Melbourne Magistrates Court after he spun the rear wheels of his road car on a public street in March last year and was charged with "intentional loss of control of a motor vehicle".

The Mercedes was impounded by police.

In 2009, Hamilton had to issue a public apology after he was found to have "deliberately misled" stewards in a post-race controversy that saw him disqualified from third place.

The 26-year-old arrived in Melbourne this year with his hopes revived by McLaren making major changes to a car that has looked off the pace and unreliable in pre-season testing in Spain.

Team boss Martin Whitmarsh said on Monday that McLaren hoped to gain a second a lap with a new floor and simpler exhaust system.

London bookmakers William Hill said on Tuesday that the public appeared unconvinced it was a winner, however, with odds of 9-1 on a Hamilton victory in Australia and 16-1 on team mate and 2009 world champion Jenson Button.

Red Bull's world champion Sebastian Vettel was the 9-4 favourite with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso at 3-1 and Australian Mark Webber 9-2.

The bookmaker also offered odds of 12-1 that both McLarens fail to finish Sunday's race.

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