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Mike Stevens | Apr 28, 2009

Reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton has revealed he considered quitting Formula One after he was found to have misled a stewards inquiry at the Australian Grand Prix.

Hamilton was heavily criticised by the press in Britain for his role in the scandal, causing public sentiment towards the 24-year old to shift negatively as the country discovered a new darling, Jenson Button.

The 24-year old has previously admitted struggling with the trappings of fame, prompting a move to relative anonymity in Switzerland, but the latest issue almost brought him to breaking point.

“I wasn't 100 per cent sure I wanted to be here for the next five years. There was so much going on. Do I want to be in the limelight with people slating me?” he said.

“Do I want to be in the spotlight where I can't even go to the fish and chip shop or the cinema and have fun without people taking pictures of me? But if I want to race this car and continue doing this, that's what I've got to do.”

The Briton has been no stranger to controversy however throughout his short F1 career.

Hailed as F1’s great new hope upon his arrival, Hamilton was almost immediately thrust into the spotlight during a stunning debut season in 2007 where he and his team became embroiled in separate season long sagas.

Hamilton’s form and status as Ron Dennis’ long-time protégé irked team mate Fernando Alonso and fuelled a heated feud which came to a head at the Hungarian Grand Prix, when the duo engaged in a series of spiteful incidents.

The Spaniard infamously delayed his exit from pit lane during qualifying to deliberately strip Hamilton of the opportunity to set a final lap time after he failed to obey team orders and let Alonso past earlier in the session.

Meanwhile, McLaren were fined and expelled from the constructors championship for possessing confidential Ferrari technical documents.

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