Lewis Hamilton, the 2018 Formula One World champion, is one of the drivers who never shies away from expressing emotions and opinions. The five-time world champion recently opened up about the expansion of Formula One to new countries and his comments about India has not gone down well with F1 fans here.
While questioning Liberty Media's (new owners of Formula 1) decision to host the race in Vietnam from 2020, the 33-year-old Briton said, "I've been to Vietnam before and it is beautiful. 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. I felt very conflicted when I went to that Grand Prix."
Lewis Hamilton was explaining his stand to conduct more races in countries that have rich racing heritage such as England, Germany, Italy and others rather than expanding the sport to countries where fans are less in a BBC interview. "We had a Grand Prix in Turkey and hardly anyone came. Cool track, cool weekend but a poor audience," the Mercedes-Benz driver added.
Hamilton's usage of words 'poor place' to describe India has not gone down well with the social media users. Some of the F1 fans tried to correct Hamilton about the Indian Grand Prix held between 2011 and 2013 and the turnout. "We in India love to watch a race..that's why 95000 turned up the first time.. Including me," social media user named Waghray Anish tweeted.
"After ruining us from our golden past "British" racer Lewis Hamilton calls India a poor country! Wow! What abt d unilateral free trade policy of EIC wd which u ruined India? What abt d drain of wealth? You guys still owe us the Kohinoor diamond," another Twitterati Ricky posted.
"#LewisHamilton India is a poor country yet English players come here to play leagues like IPL for money.... Makes sense?" tweeted Shantanu Dagar. The tweets criticising the wrong choice of words by Hamilton are pouring in Twitter.
Indian Grand Prix
For uninitiated, Formula One Indian Grand Prix was held between 2011 and 2013 at the Buddh International Circuit in Uttar Pradesh near Noida. Jaypee Sports International Limited, the organiser of Formula One racing in India, had signed a five-year contract with F1 management while tax dispute with the Uttar Pradesh government led the Indian GP getting axed after the 2013 race.