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Lewis Hamilton calls India 'poor' place, questions F1 body's expansion plans

Hamilton's comments came in the wake of Formula One's decision to hold its first ever Grand Prix in Vietnam's capital Hanoi on a street circuit in 2020.

Reported by: India TV Sports Desk, New Delhi [ Published on: November 14, 2018 14:39 IST ]
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Lewis Hamilton calls India 'poor' place, questions F1 body's expansion plans

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has questioned the the motorsport governing body's decision to expand to new countries with no genuine racing tradition. In a rather controversial remark, the Mercedes driver told BBC that he felt conflicted while he was racing in India as it is a "poor" place.

"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," Hamilton told BBC.

"On the racing side, I don't know how important it is to go to new countries as such," said Hamilton who sealed his fifth world title last month.

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

Hamilton's comments came in the wake of Formula One's decision to hold its first ever Grand Prix in Vietnam's capital Hanoi on a street circuit in 2020, the contract of which extends till 10 years. 

Formula One has rapidly expanded in countries such as China, India, South Korea, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Russia, Azerbaijan and Turkey.

Few of the races - Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain - have generated huge excitement while others such as India and South Korea have fizzled out.

"We've got a lot of real racing history in England, Germany, Italy and now in the States it is starting to grow," said Hamilton.

"But you only have one event per year in those places. If it was my business, I'd be trying to do more events in those countries.

"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. We had a grand prix in Turkey and hardly anyone came. Cool track, cool weekend but poor audience," he added.

Meanwhile, five-time world champion Hamilton won the Brazilian Grand Prix on last week and helped his Mercedes team take the Formula One constructors' title for the fifth straight year.

It was Hamilton's 10th victory of the season, finishing 1.4 seconds ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

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