Mercedes driver Hamilton calls India poor - Clarifies his stand on Twitter, Instagram

Aubrey Yates
November 16, 2018

Over the years, F1 has expanded markets beyond the regular racing powerhouses.

Venues like Bahrain, Azerbaijan, Abu Dhabi and India are among venues added to the Formula 1 calendar since 2004.

"First off, India is one of the most attractive places in the world".

Hamilton's stance was that the lavish resources devoted to a track that is no longer in use could have perhaps been committed to more urgent causes in the country.

"If you had the Silverstone Grand Prix and a London Grand Prix, it would be pretty cool".

"I've been to Vietnam before and it is lovely", he had told the BBC.

He also drew attention to the fact that there were very few audience, either because it was too expensive or there was no interest.

The newly-crowned five-time world champion said in an interview this week that he preferred racing venues with "real racing history", such as England, Germany, Italy and the U.S., after Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, was announced in the F1 calendar for 2020.

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Earlier, the 33-year-old had said, "I've been to India before to a race which was odd because India was such a poor place yet we had this massive, attractive grand prix track made in the middle of nowhere", he said.

Following a massive social media backlash, Hamilton has now tried to clarify his stand.

In an interview with BBC Sport, Hamilton, who became only the third driver in F1 history to win five or more titles at last month's Mexican Grand Prix, has emphasised the need to host more races in countries with a strong motorsport history.

"My reference was that a grand prix there felt odd to drive past homeless people, then arrive in a huge arena where money was not an issue". The Grand Prix was held at the Buddh International Circuit and while Hamilton admired the track and the facilities thereon, he stated that the track was in the middle of nowhere and while millions were spent on the track it is now never used.

"However, I have met some incredible Indian fans", Hamilton added.

"If we just go back a little bit and look at what happened in the race, after the first pit stop with Lewis we noticed quite a significant problem, which required a huge amount of input from a number of sources", Mercedes strategist James Vowles said on Mercedes' YouTube series Pure Pitwall.

The inaugural edition saw close to 90,000 people attending the Grand Prix before the number fell to 65,000 the following year.

India hosted three races between 2011-2013, but the race was dropped in 2014 after a tax dispute, and following complaints of bureaucratic red-tape faced by competing teams.

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