F1 race-car driver Lewis Hamilton has been forced into an apology after he called his UK hometown of Stevenage a ‘slum’ during an interview on the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year awards.
Speaking on the annual awards show Hamilton, who won his fifth Formula One world championship this year, said that motorsport had fulfilled his dream to “get out of the slums,” prompting outrage from officials and citizens from the town of Stevenage from which he hails.
In a video posted to Instagram, which has since been deleted from Hamilton’s official page, the racer said that he was “super proud” of Stevenage, adding that he “chose the wrong words” when speaking at the awards show.
— Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) December 18, 2018
“[Stevenage] is somewhere I’m incredibly proud of coming from and still love to this day,” Hamilton said.
“Please, if you are getting feelings about a mistake I made on stage, don’t bother with it. Throw it to the side, it is negative energy you don’t need to hold. I’m super proud of where I come from and I hope that you know that I represent in the best way that I can always.
“Nobody’s perfect. I definitely make mistakes quite often and particularly when you’re up in front of a crowd trying to find the right words to express the long journey that you’ve had in life. I chose the wrong words but I didn’t mean anything by it. Those of you who know me know that I always mean well,” he added.
Hamilton’s apology was received favorably by Stevenage Councillor Sharon Taylor, who thanked Hamilton for his “gracious apology“.
Thank you to @LewisHamilton for a gracious apology to Stevenage issued on Instagram tonight, in which he also says how proud he is of our home town. We have a five times F1 World champion that comes from Stevenage, that is quite something! @Gobi_r pic.twitter.com/Spwez4oDOi
— Sharon Taylor (@SharonStevenage) December 18, 2018
Looks like Hamilton’s apology video has got him back in the town’s good graces.
Thank goodness that’s behind us.