Hamilton clarifies India comments after backlash

Ruben Hill
November 15, 2018

He added: "I've been to Vietnam before and it is lovely".

The Mercedes racer feels that countries where people have more knowledge about F1 should be looking to host more than one race in a year.

The World Champion stated that he would rather race in countries with a genuine racing tradition, while questioning Formula One's policy of introducing the sport in new countries.

The five-time Champion's comments come just days after it was announced that Vietnam will host its first ever Grand Prix in 2020, making it the second Southeast Asian nation on the F1 calendar after Singapore. "I felt very conflicted when I went to that Grand Prix".

Lewis Hamilton said he felt conflicted when he visited India for the Indian Grand Prix and said it was odd because India is a poor country and an F1 track was built in the middle of nowhere.

"On the racing side, I don't know how important it is to go to new countries as such", said Hamilton who sealed his fifth world title last month.

Since 2004, races in Bahrain, China, Turkey, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, South Korea, India, Russia and Azerbaijan have all been added to the calendar. At the same time, historic European races held in England, Germany and Italy have come under fire.

Vietnam is the latest country which has been added in the F1 calendar with its capital city, Hanoi, bagging hosting rights of a street race from 2020 onwards.

"But you only have one event per year in those places".

He further went on to say that while connecting to cities where there are a lot of people is probably a good thing, it is not necessarily so when going to countries where they don't know so much about Formula One.

Hamilton later clarified his statement on his Instagram page, saying: "India is one of the most lovely places in the world". Some pointed out its status as the fastest growing economy in the world, prompting Hamilton to post a response to Instagram on Thursday. I have visited and always had an unbelievable time however whilst it's the fasted [sic] growing economy it also has a lot of poverty.

He then referred to F1's newest addition and one of its short-lived ventures from earlier in the current decade, the Indian Grand Prix.

"They spent hundreds of millions on a track that was now never used and that money could have been spent on schools or homes".

India had hosted the F1 races in 2011, 2012 and 2013 at the Buddh International Circuit in Uttar Pradesh's Greater Noida. Vietnam also has scant racing tradition.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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