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HAMILTON GUARDS REPUTATION AS WINNER


Lewis Hamilton has no intention of ending his Formula One career with stains on his character like Michael Schumacher.

Schumacher's brilliant, but tainted time in Formula One was again the subject of debate after his failure to apologise for one of his most outrageous indiscretions in Monaco four years ago.

The 41-year-old was offered ample opportunity to say sorry for feigning an accident and parking his Ferrari at Rascasse to block then bitter rival Fernando Alonso from grabbing pole position.

Throw in the championship deciders in 1994 and 1997 when he tried to take out Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve, and Schumacher is as much remembered for such infamy as for his seven world titles.

Hamilton still has a long way to go to match Schumacher's more illustrious feats as the Briton has one world title and 12 race wins to his name.

Hamilton may also have been embroiled in 'lie-gate' at the start of last year, although he maintains he was acting on team orders, not of his own volition as was the case with Schumacher.

So one thing is clear, the 25-year-old is determined to keep it clean and play by the rules.

"When I leave F1 I want to be remembered as one of the best drivers of all time," Hamilton said.

"My first thought was I am not really bothered if I am remembered or not, but then clearly I am going to be remembered.

"I am part of the sport, part of its history, a world champion, so I would like to be remembered in the best way and the best light.

"I want to be remembered as a fair driver, a clean driver, one who always drove with his heart, who battled through thick and thin to score the points and the championships I will hopefully earn."

Asked about Schumacher's occasional unscrupulous acts and whether he is intent on ensuring his character is not similarly blighted, Hamilton replied: "Absolutely.

"When I think about history, it is not just about me, it is about how my family raised me, where we came from.

"For that to be potentially tainted by something like that would really devastate me. That is something I don't want to be known for."

That Monaco weekend, Hamilton was in GP2, winning the feature race en route to claiming the rookie title for the series that year.

If he has an opinion on what Schumacher did, he is keeping it to himself as he said: "I don't really have a view on it.

"Everyone has their opinion, and the right to their opinion, but for me I just focus on my own job. It doesn't have any impact on me.

"Whether I think it was right or wrong, I wasn't in the car with him and I can't blame someone for something, so I honestly don't know."

At one of Schumacher's favourite tracks where he won five times, you would think Hamilton would be relishing the prospect of taking on the legend around the streets of the principality.

Monte Carlo is a venue Hamilton adores, but it would appear the novelty of going head to head with Schumacher has lost its appeal.

"It doesn't do anything for me whatsoever," added Hamilton, who was seventh quickest at the end of the two practice sessions, finishing 0.345secs adrift of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

"Of course, he is a world champion and you want to be up against world champions.

"It is always a privilege to be on the same track as him, as it is having him in the sport.

"Now for me it would be special if I was on the track with Ayrton (Senna), but everyone has their own points of view.

"But even if I was to finish ahead of Michael this weekend compared to the last time I won here (in 2008) it has no bearing.

"The grand prix I won here would be my best time."



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