Formula One superstar Lewis Hamilton has defended his comments regarding India not being a good place to host the sport, after some backlash on social media.
The five-time Formula One World Champion in an interview with the BBC said he felt “conflicted” participating in the Indian Grand Prix, which ran on the Formula One calendar from 2011 to 2013.
“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.”
His comments drew mixed reactions from his fans and Formula One fans in general, with some taking issue with him profiling India as being a poor country not worthy of hosting such an event.
The Buddh International Circuit hosted just three Formula One Grands Prix before it was removed from the calendar over a tax dispute.
Hamilton took to social media to clarify his statement, saying the money that went into the construction of the circuit could have been diverted to build schools and homes for the poor.
“Hey everyone, I noticed some people are upset with my comment on India. First off, India is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
“The culture there is incredible. I have visited and always had an amazing time. However, whilst it’s the fastest growing economy, it also has a lot of poverty. 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. When we did have the race, nobody came because it was too expensive most likely, or no interest. However, I have met some amazing Indian fans.”
Hamilton has won his fifth F1 World Championship on October 28, making him the joint second most successful driver of all time.
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— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) November 15, 2018