Lewis Hamilton issues clarification on ‘poor India’ comment

Hamilton questions F1 races in poor nations like India

Five times Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton issued a clarification on Thursday of his comments about how he had felt "conflicted" to be racing in "a poor place" like India during the years when the country hosted a grand prix.

"On the racing side, I don't know how important it is to go to new countries as such", Hamilton told BBC Sport.

Social media users criticised him and suggested that he did not understand how to grow the sport, with many pointing out that India has the sixth-largest economy...

Hamilton later clarified his statement on his Instagram page, saying: "India is one of the most handsome places in the world". That money could have been spent on schools or homes for those in need.

Speaking ahead of the Brazil weekend - a race under threat and which could well make way for Vietnam, yet genuinely offers "great overtaking possibilities", "high speeds" and "great racing" as well as being "exciting" and "demanding" - Lewis Hamilton admitted that he was loathe to see the calendar expand to as many as 25 races, hinting that if this were the case he wouldn't be interested.

Mercedes could either opt to install some new elements in Hamilton's W09, which would mean that he would take a grid penalty in the last Grand Prix of the season next week, or the Germans could use an old engine again, with the risk of potential failure attached to it. They spent hundreds of millions on that track now that is never used.

"When we did have the race, nobody came because it was too expensive most likely or (there was) no interest".

"My reference was that a grand prix there felt unusual to drive past homeless people and then arrive in a huge arena where money was not an issue", explained Hamilton on Instagram and Twitter. "However, I have met some wonderful Indian fans".

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has now also come out to voice his support for Hamilton to state that it was "unbelievable" how Hamilton's "thoughtful" comments concerning his experience of India had been misunderstood. Wolff stated that Hamilton was merely making a stark contrast between the wealth and poverty in India as compared to the wider world in general.

Indian Grand Prix was staged from 2011 to 2013 with Sebastian Vettel winning all three races for Red Bull.

Recent additions to the F1 calendar include Turkey, India and South Korea, all of which have since fallen off the circuit after failing to attract the audiences needed to the keep the grand prix alive.

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