Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 August 2019

Lewis Hamilton apologises for slum comments about his hometown

It isn't the first time he's upset residents of his hometown

The F1 star quickly corrected his comment, but has not apologised. Reuters
The F1 star quickly corrected his comment, but has not apologised. Reuters

The residents of an English town are awaiting an apology from F1 driver Lewis Hamilton after he made disparaging comments about his hometown on television.

Appearing at the Sports Personality of the Year awards in Birmingham on Sunday, Hamilton told presenter Gabby Logan that he had risen from the lowest rungs of society.

"It's been a really long journey, a dream for us all, as a family, to do something different, to get out of the slums,” seemingly referring to Stevenage, where he grew up.

He quickly clarified his comments, going on to say he was reflecting on solidarity within his family.

"Well, we would say it's not the slums, but just come out from somewhere and do something. We all set our goals very high but we did it as a team."

Earlier this year, Stevenage ranked in an official survey as one of the happiest places in Britain. It is located in the prosperous south and boasts some of the country’s biggest businesses as local employers.

Those watching the popular end-of-year programme took to social media to defend their town and suggest Hamilton visit an actual slum to see what one looks like.

Stevenage, around 30 miles north of London, is in Hertfordshire and has a population of 80,000 people. In October the local newspaper reported the average happiness score for respondents in Stevenage was 7.87, one of the highest scores in the UK. This compared to an average UK score of 7.52.

“The survey indicates that people in neighbouring North Hertfordshire are getting happier, with an average happiness score of 7.7 – while people in Central Bedfordshire are getting sadder, with a score of 7.45,” the report in The Comet said.

“Overall, 83 per cent of people in Stevenage ranked their happiness between seven and ten – meaning either high or very high – compared to 75.4 per cent across the UK.”

This isn’t the first time Hamilton has courted controversy when speaking about his roots. In 2014, he said he came from “not-great place in Stevenage” while comparing his upbringing to that of rival Nico Rosberg, sparking ire from those still living in the town.

An apology has not been forthcoming from the five-time world champion, however.

Updated: December 18, 2018 06:00 PM

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