LEWIS HAMILTON has clarified his feedback about India being a “poor place” after a livid fan backlash.
The five-time world champion instructed the BBC he felt “conflicted” racing in a rustic the place the disparity between the haves and have-nots was so stark and apparent.
India hosted three F1 races between 2011-13 at a privately-owned observe on the outskirts of Delhi, earlier than monetary and bureaucratic points pressured the organiser to terminate its five-year deal.
Mercedes driver Hamilton, 33, mentioned: “I have been to India earlier than to a race which was unusual as a result of India was such a poor place but we had this large, stunning grand prix observe made in the midst of nowhere.
“I felt very conflicted after I went to that grand prix.”
The Brit later posted an announcement making an attempt to elucidate what he meant.
He wrote: “I observed some persons are upset with my touch upon India.
“My reference was grand prix there felt unusual to drive previous homeless folks after which arrive in an enormous area the place cash was not a problem.
“They spent a whole lot of tens of millions on that observe that’s now by no means used.
“That cash may have been spent on colleges or properties for these in want.
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“When we did have the race, nobody came because it was too expensive most likely or no interest.”
Before explaining himself, though, Hamilton – who is having a library named in his honour – was met with a barrage of abuse because of how his comments were perceived.
One particularly outraged social media user posted: “Never really liked you even before your ridiculous statement and now I like you even less.
“And I’m sure I’m not the only one. You seem to have no issues coming to India for your promotions and yet you don’t want to race here.
“Don’t ever come back. We don’t want to see your face.”
Another posted: “I think we should ignore Lewis Hamilton, this idiot comments on poor India.”
One comment read: “I am a big fan of Mercedes and was planning to buy one. But seeing such racist comment from Lewis Hamilton I won’t buy it.”
Mercedes defended their driver. A message from their official Twitter account said: “This is a distortion of what Lewis said.
“He was commenting on the juxtaposition between rich and poor, and the discomfort he felt from that contrast.
“However, he has clarified his meaning.”