Lewis Hamilton defends ‘poor’ India comments after furious fan backlash

LEWIS HAMILTON has clarified his comments about India being a "poor place" after a furious fan backlash.

The five-time world champion told the BBC he felt "conflicted" racing in a country where the disparity between the haves and have-nots was so stark and obvious.

 Lewis Hamilton has clarified comments he made on India being a 'poor place'

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Lewis Hamilton has clarified comments he made on India being a 'poor place'

India hosted three F1 races between 2011-13 at a privately-owned track on the outskirts of Delhi, before financial and bureaucratic issues forced the organiser to terminate its five-year deal.

Mercedes driver Hamilton, 33, 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.

"I felt very conflicted when I went to that grand prix."

The Brit later posted a statement attempting to explain what he meant.

 Hamilton when he visited Kolkata in 2013

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Hamilton when he visited Kolkata in 2013

He 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 and then arrive in a huge arena where money was not an issue.

"They spent hundreds of millions on that track that is now never used.

"That money could have been spent on schools or homes for those in need.

 Hamilton wished to express the juxtaposition between racing in an environment where money was no object to seeing the poverty on the streets

Save the Children
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Hamilton wished to express the juxtaposition between racing in an environment where money was no object to seeing the poverty on the streets

"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."

Lewis Hamilton celebrates being crowned Formula One world champion for fifth time after fourth place finish in Mexico

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."

LEWIS HAMILTON has clarified his comments about India being a "poor place" after a furious fan backlash.