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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

British Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton admits he was unaware of fans' frustrations

The Briton's bizarre no-show for Formula One's spectacular London parade on Wednesday nightwas greeted by jeers as frustrated supporters vented their fury at his absence

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain listens to Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia during a press conference for the British Formula One Grand Prix at Silverstone circuit, Silverstone, England, Thursday, July 13, 2017.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain listens to Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia during a press conference for the British Formula One Grand Prix at Silverstone circuit, Silverstone, England, Thursday, July 13, 2017.

Lewis Hamilton admits he was unaware of British fans' frustrations after he failed to turn up for Formula One's spectacular London parade on Wednesday night.

The Briton's bizarre no-show was greeted by jeers as frustrated supporters vented their fury at his absence.

Hamilton, 32, was scheduled to lead a star-studded cast as Formula One took over the capital for a demonstration run in the build-up to Sunday's British Grand Prix.

But Hamilton was the lone absentee of this year's crop of 20 drivers after he chose to go on holiday rather than appear in front of thousands of British fans.

Speaking about the negative reaction from fans, the triple world champion said: "To be honest I didn't really know about it.

"My sole focus right now is on this weekend. I have received incredible love from the fans every single year I have been here, and I'm looking forward to seeing them."

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Hamilton's timing for his break is curious given that the British Grand Prix, a race he described as the most important on the calendar, is just days away.

Formula One also heads for its traditional four-week summer break next month in which the sport is effectively on shutdown for two weeks.

"Everyone has the right to make the decision for themselves," Hamilton said. "It's been a pretty intense season so far and I felt, for me, I needed to prepare the best way I could for this weekend.

"People will have their opinions about it. I feel great, being here I feel the best-prepared I can be.

"It's good to be here. I've tried to prepare the best way I can - quite relaxed for the past few days. I come here excited for the weekend as always.

"You've got the championship which is the most important thing, but a very close second, if not tied, is the British Grand Prix.

"Being a home grand prix, the home of motorsport, it's such an incredible, intense weekend. Every year it's a must-win for a British driver, so I tried to prepare the best way I could."

Hamilton uploaded a short video on his official Twitter account on Tuesday in which he appeared to be partying with friends.

He said at a press conference: "I genuinely haven't been on my phone for the last couple of days, I've tried to switch off.

"I turned it on a couple of times to receive a message but mostly I've tried to stay away from it."

Hamilton trails Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel by 20 points in the drivers' championship ahead of this weekend.

The Mercedes-GP driver has won the last three races at Silverstone and intends to give the home fans something to cheer about again come Sunday.

"I like to think I do what I can to connect to the fans. The fans mean everything to me," he said.

"I've recently visited children in hospital who can't come to a grand prix. That's not reported on but it's important to me.

"Ultimately we have decisions to make. You have to stand firm with the decisions you make and feel proud of the decisions you make, and I personally do.

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