Hamilton defends London no-show

13/07/2017
NEWS STORY

As expected, Lewis Hamilton was the centre of attention at today's press conference, as the media sought the driver's explanation of why he missed the first significant promotion of the sport under its new ownership, especially as the celebration was on the streets of the capital of his homeland.

Indeed, such was the media's obvious anger at the Briton for his non-appearance on Wednesday's event, the first part of the press conference, which was attended by Valtteri Bottas, Romain Grosjean, Jolyon Palmer and Lance Stroll, saw the quartet asked how they felt about the Briton's no-show.

However, when it came to his turn in the spotlight, Hamilton robustly defended himself.

"Everyone has the right to make their own decision," he said. "For me I felt that it has been a pretty intense season so far and, for me, I needed to prepare the best way I could for this weekend. The season is the most important thing for me and that's it."

Asked how he felt about fans at the event booing when his name was mentioned on Wednesday evening, he said: "I genuinely haven't been on my phone the last couple of days. I've tried to switch off mostly. I've turned it on a couple of times to receive a message but I tried to stay away from it.

"Personally, I feel I've prepared the best way I could this weekend and that's really all I can do," he continued. "Of course, people are going to have opinions about it but I'm trying to prepare the best way I can for the battle ahead of me and other people will have different ways of doing so.

"I love this grand prix and I love this race, and I don't feel that yesterday personally plays any role in how great this weekend is for me. Every season for the last ten years it's been incredible and growing every year.

"You get people who have saved up through the year to come to this grand prix and you will have seen the previous years how much I have appreciated and respected that and try to give and enjoy the weekend with the fans, and that doesn't change."

Asked if in missing Wednesday's event meant he had lost out on a golden opportunity to connect with fans away from the track, he said: "I like to think I do everything I can to connect with the fans and I do have the biggest following in Formula One and I communicate with them as much as I can.

"The fans mean everything to me," he continued, "they always have, and I make no secret of that and I think hopefully my commitment to the sport over the last ten years and what I do outside the sport... things that perhaps you don't comment on, such as when I go to visit a hospital and spend time with young kids who can't come to a grand prix. That's not something you potentially report on, but that's something that is very important to me and that's where I feel I like to put my energy mostly.

"Ultimately we have decisions to make and you have to stand firm with the decisions you make and feel proud of the decisions you make," he insisted. "I personally do, and coming here this weekend I'm coming here to do everything I can to shine as much light and raise the flag in the best way I can, proudly, and drive the best I can.

"The goal is to win the British Grand Prix for my home crowd and I've been really fortunate the last three years to do that and the yearning and the will to want to do that again is greater than ever."

Check out our Thursday gallery from Silverstone, here.

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Published: 13/07/2017
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