Lewis Hamilton has likened his current state of mind in formula one to wrongful imprisonment.

Lewis Hamilton has likened his current state of mind in formula one to wrongful imprisonment.

As a diamond number '1' was unveiled on the top of his helmet ahead of the prestigious Monaco grand prix, the reigning world champion said the recent battering of his reputation has left him not overly enjoying his job.

From the criticism of his Swiss tax exile, his personality, and now 'lie-gate', the 24-year-old said: "It's got to be a similar feeling to anyone who goes to jail but feels they shouldn't be behind bars.

"That is the feeling I have had, although I know what happened in Australia was wrong," said Hamilton at the McLaren factory on Thursday, where the team's usual sponsor linkup for Monaco with a diamond company was announced.

"I just feel knocked about by it all," he is quoted as saying by The Times newspaper. "I want to be a driver -- I am not in the sport to be a politician."

Hamilton insists the controversies have not affected his driving, but admits he is disillusioned with formula one because of its constant politics.

"It affects your life, it affects the way you are. I used to enjoy formula one and part of that has been taken away from me," he explained.

"Unfortunately, it is the way the formula one world works for some reason. It's much nicer in the lower categories, where all the people are there just to race and the teams are there just to race," added Hamilton.

Reporters have also noticed a marked change recently in Hamilton's attitude with the media, which now prioritises his take on off-track sagas over his work in the cockpit.

"Talking to the media and having interviews on television used to be great fun, but it has changed. I have no doubts in my mind I can enjoy formula one just as much as I did before. Just not now," he said.

 

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