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India spent millions on a track that was never used which could have been spent on schools or homes, says Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton had earlier questioned Formula One's policy of organising races in new countries.

F1 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton is a five-time world champion. (REUTERS)

Five-time Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton issued a clarification on comments that he made about India being a “poor place”. Questioning Formula One’s policy of organising races in new countries, Hamilton had enquired if there was a need for more races in the calendar when there’s already 21 races a year.

In a clarification on Twitter, the Mercedes driver wrote, “I noticed some people are upset with my comment on India.”

“My reference was that a grand prix there felt strange to drive past homeless people, then arrive in a huge arena where money was not an issue. They spent hundreds of millions on a track that was now never used and that money could have been spent on schools or homes. When we did have the race nobody came because it was too expensive or there was no interest,” he added.

Earlier, the 33-year-old had said, “I’ve been to India before to a race which was strange because India was such a poor place yet we had this massive, beautiful grand prix track made in the middle of nowhere,” he said. “I felt very conflicted when I went to that grand prix.”

“On the racing side, I don’t know how important it is to go to new countries as such,” he said. “If you had the Silverstone Grand Prix and a London Grand Prix, it would be pretty cool. We’ve got a lot of real racing history in England, Germany, Italy and now in the States, it is starting to grow. But you only have one event per year in those places. If it was my business, I’d be trying to do more events in those countries.

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However, his comments did not go down well with fans in India and drew their ire on social media. Several of them pointed out the growing popularity of motorsports in India and the huge fan base that he has in the country.

First published on: 15-11-2018 at 08:35:28 pm
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