London:Formula One race director Charlie Whiting has disclosed that Lewis Hamilton had singled him out and made a personal apology over the lying scandal engulfing McLaren.
Whiting was present at both the meetings in Melbourne and again in Sepang when Hamilton lied to stewards over allowing Renault's Jarno Trulli to pass in the opening Australian Grand Prix.
In an interview with www.autosport.com, Whiting said he had noticed a distinct change in the world champion's behaviour between the two hearings held to determine the circumstances around the now infamous overtaking incident. "I was distinctly uncomfortable about Lewis's demeanour on Sunday (in Australia), and on Thursday (in Malaysia).
"I would say he was just doing what he was told to do," said Whiting.
"On Sunday it was completely clear that he was telling lies.
"The fact that he came and apologised to me in Sepang sums it up pretty much. He came to me and wanted to talk to me privately, and just said he wanted to apologise for everything he'd done, and he wouldn't do it again, that sort of thing."
Whiting, shedding fresh light on the Briton's demeanour at the second hearing in Sepang, said: "We got into a little bit more detail of what happened when Trulli passed Lewis. Lewis did his best to fudge it, I would say, without responding completely and directly.
"I reminded him that I had asked him twice in Melbourne, 'Did you consciously let him past?' And he'd said no, Trulli had just passed him.
"I then said when the team asked you to let him pass, you said I've already let him past.' I said to him if you had been surprised by that, surely you would have said, he's passed me,' instead of I've let him past.'
"Lewis didn't really have an answer for that. They were trying very hard to get off the important bit of the subject, and trying to divert the stewards' attention elsewhere. That's the impression, I got anyway."
Hamilton has laid the blame squarely at the door of his team manager Dave Ryan, who has since been sacked for his role in the affair which led to Hamilton being disqualified in Australia and McLaren facing a FIA disciplinary hearing in Paris on April 29.
Whiting said that he had never had any reason to question Ryan's behaviour up to Australia. "I've always found Dave to be very easy guy to deal with," he remarked.
"I've never thought that he was lying to me. There's no reason for me to suppose that he's like that all the time. But I do believe that he attempted to mislead the stewards, I don't think there's any doubt about that in my mind."