Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2017

“The season’s the most important thing”: Hamilton explains F1 Live London absence

2017 British Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton says he didn’t take part in yesterday’s F1 Live London event because he didn’t want to compromise his preparation for the British Grand Prix weekend.

Hamilton was the only driver in the field not to take part in the first-of-its-kind event at Trafalgar Square yesterday afternoon.

“Everyone had the right to make the decision for themselves,” said Hamilton when asked why he had decided not to attend.

“For me I felt it had been a pretty intense season and for me I needed to prepare the best way I could for this weekend. The season’s the most important thing for me, and that’s really it.”

“Obviously people are going to have opinions about it,” Hamilton added. “But this is a very intense season, 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, I love this race. I don’t feel yesterday, personally, plays any role in how great this weekend is for me. Every season for the last ten years has been incredible, it’s been growing every year. You get people who have saved up so much for the year to come up to this grand prix. You’ll have seen in the previous years how much I appreciate and respect that and try to give and enjoy the weekend with the fans, and that doesn’t change.”

The Mercedes driver refuted suggestions there had been any clash with F1 over payment for the use of his image at the event. Hamilton also said he wasn’t aware some in the crowd had reacted to his absence by booing.

“I generally haven’t been on my phone for the last couple of days,” he said. “I’ve been trying to switch off mostly.”

He pointed out that the trip to Greece he took instead of attending the event had been no greater inconvenience than travelling to London for an extra day.

“In terms of flying, I don’t live here,” he said. “I wouldn’t have been here anyway, I was back in Monaco first.”

“But I fly a lot longer than that for trips and I usually arrive feeling pretty good. But right now my sole focus is on this weekend, making sure I put every bit of energy into this great weekend.”

“I’ve received incredible love from the fans every single year that I come here, I’m looking forward to seeing them.”

Asked if he would attend such an event in future Hamilton said: “I guess I would decide when the time comes.”

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111 comments on ““The season’s the most important thing”: Hamilton explains F1 Live London absence”

  1. Season is important to all 20 drivers, and some have career at stake. Hamilton is just shameful. Even Vettel could have not come after wrath of British fans he faced after Baku.

    1. What he did to be labelled as “shameful”? It is up to him whether he wants any publicity event or not. If he is shameful then what you will tell about Alonso who altogether missed a race for some other racing series.

      1. Agree – it’s Alonso’s fault

        1. And by extension, everything is basically Honda’s fault.

      2. No, what he did is called freedom of choice and he has at least been open and honest and not hidden behind excuses, and remember this is not an official event.

        I do not necessarily agree with his decision but it was his to make.

    2. Its not shameful. It was his choice, and he decided not to come. Its not a mandatory event.
      In fact, it was pretty boring. It was just F1 cars mostly doing donuts, which isnt that interesting. And Pirelli tires stink btw. If theyd let us get up and close to the drivers and cars, that wouldve been something else.
      If it was further out from a GP, and he didnt attend, that would’ve been something else.
      Considering how much Lewis does to engage fans on his own, him not attending this to prep for the race isnt a big deal. Its a non-story in my opinion.

      1. That’s one of the things I was curious about. Apart from the first couple of rows, did anyone attending the event even managed to see anything?

    3. I think this is being blown out of proportion. Just because 21 other drivers did attend doesn’t mean they all did it voluntarily. I wouldn’t be surprised if some attended because that was part of their PR obligations to the team. In the same way Hamilton will be expected to attend a certain number of PR events as part of his contract with Mercedes, and for some reason this event wasn’t one of those otherwise he’d have gone. How many of us would go to a PR event by our employer if it happened to coincide with a rostered day off work or on the weekend? Yes, some of us would go, but some wouldn’t. Hamilton had a choice and chose not to go.

    4. @nin13 Tell me again who that driver was in China that went in the soaking rain to his fans while all others stayed inside ?, please tell me.

      1. Yaa. Point to be noted.

    5. “Season is important to all 20 drivers”…

      Interesting, didn’t seem that way when Alonso skipped Monaco to do Indy.

      1. Did the other drivers in history to skip Monaco for Indy also not care about the season?

        1. Sorry, but can you tell who’s the other driver to skip Monaco to go and do Indy?

          1. Jim Clark would be the obvious one.

      2. correct me if i’m wrong but wasn’t hamilton not interested in the 2015 season after winning it? vettel seemed to have a very different attitude back in 2013…

    6. 44fanandproud
      13th July 2017, 20:37

      Ninad I will tell you what was shameful and that was what happened in Baku.

    7. When he does promotions it is because he has no focus. When he tries to shut it all off and focus he is shameful. Hamilton can never win with some people.

  2. I was totally disappointed in the Parade. It was as interesting as the drivers cruising around the track Race Day sitting on top of small cars.
    I get everything I Need from F1 on a 3 day Race weekend. I don’t need P.R.. The Racing is all that matters.

    1. I was there and I found it boring too.

      1. wonder what the kids thought. you know, the ones hamilton shamelessly uses like some useless politician when they see fit.

        then forgets when it actually matters.

        1. The ones he went to visit in hospital the other day ? Those same kids ?

  3. Chip Hilton
    13th July 2017, 16:28

    As with living in Monaco to avoid paying taxes in the nation he loves, there are many things people have the right to do that aren’t admirable.

    1. So the “admirable” choice is to restrict ourselves to living in our place of birth and not explore the outer world that we all live on? Call me a hippy liberal douchebag, but I’d like to think we can move past that way of thinking.

      1. @ninjenius, you’re a hippy liberal douchebag.

      2. Chip Hilton
        13th July 2017, 22:39

        He could live in and explore the entire world while maintaining a legal residence in Britain. What a coincidence that all these drivers who want to see the world end up in a tax haven. And by the way, I consider myself a liberal.

        1. But yet only Lewis every gets called out? Why’s that?

          1. Kgn11I think they keep calling him because he’s black and that’s just “shameful” right there

    2. I think you should check you facts before making assumptions that he avoids paying taxes by living in Monte Carlo. I am sure we have seen this before and that Hamilton does actually pay UK taxes.

      1. Chip Hilton
        14th July 2017, 14:31

        I was basing that on what I’ve read about why a number of F1 drivers live there, but if it’s not accurate, I would be happy to know better.

  4. The over reaction to this is literally incredible.

    I’ve just had someone, who very loosely follows F1, come into my work place, and get irate about the subject. “no” “its not right” “he’s done himself no favours” “im disappointed” “ive lost respect for him” walking out red faced fuming because i didn’t agree. “ive just watched the news and they’re saying its because toto went to Vettels party” “well hamilton cant tell him what to do”

    I was astonished and just laughed. I dont know what difference it would have made to his life that Lewis didn’t show up for a glorified exhibition. Maybe there’s something beneath the surfaces he’s got a problem with? Who knows.

    Just shows you the power of the media that they can write such tripe and have it have such a effect on people, people who don’t usually even otherwise care about the sport.

    1. It’s funny, cos in my office that’s the kind of banal chatter you hear about all them “reality” tv shows

  5. I don’t feel yesterday, personally, plays any role in how great this weekend is for me.

    And here I was thinking yesterday’s event was for the fans.

    1. That sentence out of context does sound bad. But ot was a question from the media along the lines of. Don’t you feel you could gather extra motivation by being at the event?

    2. They were asked if attending the event yesterday, gave them a bit more energy for upcoming weekend.

  6. I encourage people to watch the press conference. The Daily Mail and Sun journalists were digging, digging, digging. Shameful behaviour really when Lewis had already given his answer to the original query.

    Move on already!

    Fortunately the other drivers (Kvyat, Ricciardo, Wehrlein) all chipped in as they were fed up too. Nice and classy, unlike the press.

    1. the answer that lewis gave the media didn’t fit their narrative so they had to bring toto into it just to get a rise out of lewis and yet it still didn’t work. different drivers prepare for races differently it doesn’t mean that their preparation is wrong, its what works for them.

    2. Oh yes move on like we had article after article afte Baku!

    3. Surely it was obvious this was going to happen. I don’t understand why he thinks this is good preparation for the championship, to basically have to fend off all this questioning ahead of his home race.

      At best it’s a terrible misjudgment, a worst it’s disrespectful to the F1 community. It’s a bit like playing with your phone in a press conference, not taking part in the GPDA, etc.

      I’m afraid despite being a Hamilton supporter of 11 years, I can see why other people think the other way.

      1. Calm down @john-h . He only had to answer a few media questions and I doubt he cares about those at all. That’s hardly bad preparation. People are really losing it over this and I honestly can’t understand why.

        It’s not disrespectful at all, he was invited and chose to focus on an actual F1 race rather than a promo event.

        1. Ok, I’m calm now :) but 19 drivers there and 1 that had something better to do? I’m sorry, that’s poor.

          1. Yep he visited a children’s hospital and had a couple of days off pre arranged with his family after the joke that was Baku…

            My your some fan!

          2. @Drg He visited the hospital before the event. There were news reported about that at the time.

      2. But it wasn’t disrespectful when Alonso skipped a race all because his car wasn’t competitive enough?

        That’s a bigger disrespect to the F1 community. But I’m sure I’ll hear, “oh no it wasn’t” followed by various reasons why

        1. 44fanandproud
          13th July 2017, 20:49

          Kgn11 Exactly.

        2. You make a good point and I actually agree with you, but bear in mind that many in F1 also thought it was a good thing to have an F1 driver at Indy.

          Look, I know you’re a big Hamilton fan and I am too, but for things like this I’m giving my honest opinion. He should have been there, and I think almost everyone would agree on that one.

          1. Not disagreeing that he shouldn’t have been, but to brand him as being a disgrace, is where I draw the line.

            Those in F1 who thought it was a good idea, said so out of sympathy to Alonso. That move was more harmful than good to F1.

            “One of its top drivers skips blue chip race of the season to race in a second tier category”…… Why? Because he doesn’t have a competitive car

        3. I’ve got a lot of reasons why it’s different but won’t share them as I’m sure I’ll hear “oh yes it was” followed by various reasons why

        4. Oh so Alonso did something so Lewis can do it too?

          Fits, seeing how Lewis is “mr me too” copying literally everybody he can.

          Also, using someone else’s wrong doing as your justification reaches new levels of desperation.

    4. Sorry did you call the guys from the Daily Mail and Sun journalists ….. that’s the best laugh I have all year.

  7. Joe (@theessence)
    13th July 2017, 17:23

    What an intolerable person.

    1. @theessence Tell me which other driver visited a childrens hospital few days ago besides Hamilton.

      1. Otek Ondiek
        13th July 2017, 20:26

        Alonso skips an entire race to go to America and play with Indy Car, he’s a hero. Lewis skips a non-compulsory PR event and he’s intolerable.
        What a great sense of perspective some people have.

      2. Joe (@theessence)
        13th July 2017, 23:37

        I’m not sure which drivers went where in the last few days as I don’t follow them on their snapchats or whatever other social media outlets they use today… Obviously if he went to the children’s hospital then thats great for those involved, including himself. I’m sure it made many families feel better in their situations.

        Also, Hamilton is probably a top 3 F1 driver.

        What more do you want?? I’m just being realistic in everything I’m saying. He’s got to be the most mentally weak, empty and contradictory skid-mark on the grid.

    2. 44fanandproud
      13th July 2017, 20:53

      Joe If LH is so intolerable simples do not watch him.

  8. The man has done his brand no favours missing Goodwood FoS & the London event. Let’s hope that he makes up for it by blitzing Silverstone. If it’s a damp squib for LH this weekend, there are going to be quite a few LH fanboys like me turning from lukewarm to cold. Shame.

  9. Would the press (and people) get off Lewis’ back alright already! We see how the drivers are doing 200% advert time more under Liberty… we get it… but COME ON! He did not feel like it, he had some reason, it’s not like he NEVER shows up at events. Jesus!

  10. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    13th July 2017, 17:49

    I don’t really see what he has to ‘focus’ or ‘prepare’ for?

    I mean the Mercedes is a tiny bit better than the Ferrari on a normal day and if they get it working in the operating window just right it disappears off down the road. Given everyone seems to think Silverstone’s going to play to the Mercedes strengths this should be a slam-dunk win for him even if he turns up on an off day, and given his car’s capabilities the only thing that will deny him the title is technical reliability. Or if Ferrari make a technological step forward but knowing them that’s unlikely.

    For all the ‘we’re the underdog’ stuff Toto harps on about they’re really not, and given he could have comfortably won Baku and without the gearbox penalty in Austria he’d have been third or higher, I’m not certain why he needs to ‘focus’ or ‘prepare’ on anything. It’s so needlessly dramatic.

    1. I’d have agreed with you if you were Lewis.

    2. @rocketpanda while i agree about your assessment of Merc and Ferrari’s expected development over the season I guess you shouldn’t discount one thing: Vettel certainly has a shot at the wdc this year, and he has a damn near spotless record in terms of using his chances for winning a championship. Ham on the other hand only managed 2/3 in what was one of, if not the most dominant car(s) in f1 history. And he even made one of these 2 look hard.

      1. @mrboerns primarily because Vettel has not competed for a WDC with a competitive driver the other side of the Garage, the one season a competitive driver WAS in the other car he came off second best!

        1. Watch 2010 again please, and come back.

  11. I personally think he should have tried to be there.
    But everyone was complaining about Lewis looking miserable in Austria, why would a miserable driver be a good thing at such an event.
    As far as I’m concerned, FOM/Liberty Media, don’t pay the drivers and have all the rights to the drivers, but they don’t own the drivers.
    A driver needs to clear his head and get away from the pressure.

    I think most people don’t realise that Hamilton felt Vettel had disrespected him, and that wasn’t even helped by Wolff not speaking firmly about the incident and the FIA inviting Vettel for some birthday tea.

  12. That’s a lot of “me” in his explanation… Which is Hamiltons M.O.

    Just another typical Hamilton statement.

    1. Tends to happen when you’re answering questions about yourself. Must be tough grasping at those straws.

  13. Chip Hilton
    13th July 2017, 18:30

    Hamilton fans should ask themselves if their reaction — “What’s the big deal?” — would be the same had Vettel been the one driver out of 20 not to show up. And people who dislike Hamilton should ask themselves if they would be as annoyed at Vettel as they are at Hamilton.

    1. +1.
      If it had been Vettel they would have had a field day.
      And yes, Vettel would have deserved the same criticism. But Vettel isn’t like Hamilton fortunately.

    2. Chip Hilton Let me ask you this. Who was the driver in China that went in rain soaked track outside to autograph caps and spend time with his fans while Vettel and all other drivers stayed inside, tell me..

    3. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
      13th July 2017, 20:33

      Chip Hilton, as a Hamilton fan I’d have no problem with Vettel not turning up for any PR events outside of the race weekend.

      I really struggle to understand the sense of entitlement underlying this sort of post. The London event was a freebie, you weren’t ‘owed’ anything. I’m surprised that so many drivers turned up to trundle tediously around Trafalgar Square – this is normally the sort of PR opportunity only jumped on by the smaller teams.

      1. Chip Hilton
        13th July 2017, 22:45

        Tgu, I don’t feel I’m owed anything, I’m merely wondering if people’s reaction to this is based on whether they like or dislike Hamilton rather than whether it was a mistake for a driver not to go. I think you quit reading after the first sentence of my post. I suggested people who dislike Hamilton ask themselves if they would be angry at any driver who did the same. That’s not taking sides or feeling entitled.

    4. I just did – I wouldn’t give two hoots if none of the drivers had shown up.
      So long as they make it to the GP.

      The sense of entitlement to dictate the most trivial aspects of drivers’ lives is utterly extraordinary.

  14. Hamster couldn’t give a Rat’s as S for any of you fangirls.
    For him was more important an private party and he was posting video of it.
    All those people that showed up they have stuff to do.
    19 other drivers.
    Team bosses
    Team stuff
    F1 bosses.
    But Hamster feels more of a Pr ick than any of them

    1. @prelvu Then explain why Hamilton was the only one that went out in the rain in China to greet his fans while Vettel and Alonso for example did not care for their fans. Hamilton signed caps and stuff of course you haters forget that. Who visited a childrens hospital to spend time with the sick children, i’ve Vettel not seen stuff like that for example, or Alosno..

  15. Without the fans there would be no season Lewis

    1. Nor Vettel, who no one ever sees other than on a race weekend. Now there’s a man who’s all about the “fans”

        1. I don’t remember Vettel saying he was all about the “fans” the way Lewis has.

  16. As with Baku, this is a marginal story at best, blown out of proportion. The event itself was announced to the public a mere two days before it was scheduled, and Lewis appears to have spoken to Wolff/Liberty about not attending a week in advance. It would have been nice for him to have been there, but he wasn’t. It wasn’t a contractual violation, because it wasn’t an obligation.

    Let’s move on, shall we?

  17. Hamilton’s ‘fans’ booing goes to show what a fickle world he lives in. Scratch the surface, nothing there.

    1. Otek Ondiek
      13th July 2017, 20:29

      The event was announced to the public a couple days before it happened. Majority of those in the audience were tourists and ordinary passers by, not the real English f1 fan base. Watch Silverstone, he will be cheered while Vettel gets the boos.

  18. Hamiltons “love” for his fans are because they appease and bolster his massive yet strangely frail ego. I think a psychologist could make an interesting case study of the gentlemen.

    Since 2008-09 or about whenever he seemed to change his appearance (hair plugs?) he has become increasingly vain and fairly tacky.

    People that run in those vvvip ultra elite celebrity circles invariably get a bit messed up in one way or another. Fans like to think they can still “relate” to these people, but trust me, you can’t, and you don’t want to. They are far far from normal in any sense of the word. Sick buggers as well, you don’t want to know what goes on in these private exclusive Hollywood parties.

    It’s gotten to him. He doesn’t know how to juggle it all.

    1. Jeroen Debleser
      15th July 2017, 3:24

      Spot on Ibrahim!

  19. He better win the British GP! Anyway his job is to drive in Formula 1 races. What he or any of us decide what to do with the rest of the time is personal choice.

    1. yes, exactly, his job is to win the gp or at least cut his points deficit to the damned hun.

      1. Matt, that is uncalled for, I am a Ham fan but please show Seb some respect, at least for his talent and skill as a race driver, admittedly his actions in Baku were unacceptable but that does not detract from what a great driver he is.

        1. +1 – on the other hand look up a few – a certain comment is far beyond acceptable for a F1 site of some authenticity and credibility.

  20. I can’t help but laugh. I mean honestly. On a positive point it’s nice to know so many people have no real problems in life.

    Had it been advertised that Hamilton was going to attend and people paying out for trains, hotels etc then I’d agree it would be bad for Hamilton not to show. But it wasn’t. It was a free event where people got to see lots of drivers, current and old cars and even live music !

  21. Well, If he needed a couple of days off for health reasons ie: his mental health, then ok but to be the only driver to not show up in London was regrettable.

    He will, hopefully, remember this later and make some time to do something with UK fans, instead of US people who have no idea what F1 is.

  22. Hamilton show his real face yesterday. He is a very good river, of course, but he is a bluffer.

  23. Not Lewis’s biggest fan but I still think he should’ve turned up. Obviously he has every right to spend his time how he chooses but just leaves a bad taste knowing he was literally the only driver that didn’t bother to show.

  24. Can someone ask Bernie for his comments…

  25. I think there are several ways to look at this. On one hand, this was a special event and it was weird to see all the current F1 drivers there except for the most popular of them. On the other hand, it is possible that Hamilton has some private reasons that he does not want to talk about. Moreover, he is right by saying that preparation for the race weekend matters more; the racing matters more than the show. Is that not what everyone wanted to see more of before this season? Tough racing, wild cars and drivers, who give it all? Yet here we are, demanding more promotional stuff from the drivers (it is not like their team sponsorship-related duties have disappeared). I am not saying that F1 Live In London should not have happened – in fact, it was a fantastic event. But I believe that finding the right balance between marketing and racing might be a challenge for “F1 after Bernie”.

  26. I opened up this page thinking it would seriously warrant a clean-up.
    I wasn’t disappointed.

  27. You know something’s wrong when the crowd cheered Vettel and booed when Hamilton’s name was mentioned.

  28. People don’t like Lewis because he is a show off.

  29. Don’t know about the rest of you, but I’d love the opportunity to relax in Greece for a couple of days if stress from my job was affecting me.

    People going on about it being disrespectful (attached to thinly veiled racist rants), be quiet. It’s not your life. You don’t own him

    1. Racerdude7730
      13th July 2017, 22:52

      You mean to take a vacation in preparation for your 4 week vacation?

  30. Racerdude7730
    13th July 2017, 22:50

    I shouldn’t be surprised but I still am with the amount of people still trying to defend him no matter what. This was a snub to the fans. He should have been there. No one else had that issue (button and rosberg flew in from around the world for this) He should respect the sport that makes him millions of dollars.

    I’m not surprised by this bc this is the same guy who is to good to even help the team test. If we don’t remember he has skipped many testing sessions saying he is sick or hurt and we know it’s an excuse. Don’t attack me for saying that but it’s true (he even said he doesn’t want to test or like testing) he is above that. One of the most important activities the teams do he is to good for. What does surprise me is the team is will to lie and look stupid to cover this up. I’m not someone who has anything against Lewis bc he was my favorite driver for many years till his true self comes out more and more.

    1. Can you let me know what events Button and Rosberg were fighting championships for in this particular F1 season or frankly any other race series this year?

      I mean really get it together man – they have nothing else to do. This is their JOB – because they retired!

  31. It’s Hamilton’s right to do as he pleases, at least in this situation.
    The big question is whether he realized the amount of backlash he would generate, especially from his own country.
    In any case if he wins, all will be forgotten.

  32. I hope people throw eggs at him and shout “SHAME” if he makes it on to the podium on Sunday.
    Everyone else participated and Kimi even smiled!!!

  33. i think it was an inspireing move to be honest. very compelling figure, exactly what f1 needs.
    maybe he just didn’t want to meet the formula 1 world champion maybe?
    i’m sure greece is the BEST place to prepare for the british gp. his staff will just post something on twitter, and it will be much more impactfull than the whole event.
    okay enaugh sarcasm for one post i hope vettel wins and bottas will be 2nd fair and square with hamilton still on the podium just to listen to him explain what went wrong with the preparation.

  34. I’m a huge Hamilton fan, and I think the media is twice as hard on him as they are on other drivers (could you imagine what they would say about him if he were to tell Whiting to go f@&k off?). With that being said, Lewis didn’t do himself any favors by missing a big event at his home GP. Sometimes it seems like he cares more about his celebrity and private jet than anything else…but overall I think he’s shown that he’s a class act…calm and level headed…and I don’t feel like he deserves all the crap ppl give him. Best of luck to the three time champ this weekend!

    1. Agreed and full credit to him for doing what he thinks is right for HIM, if this was an official event he would never have missed it. He is coming off 2 bad weekends and nobody but him and the team know what his mental state is like at the moment, it is also worth mentioning that if this was such a big deal then Mercedes would have insisted he was there.

      A lot of unjustified comments for a guy that does a lot quietly behind the scenes, a small fact that so many people choose to forget or just plain ignore, or even worse claim that what he does is just an ego trip.

    2. Media is a LOT of times harder on Vettel than any other driver. Hamilton is quite protected.

  35. I usually watch all sessions but to be honest I’m sort of dreading P1 & P2 ( and all the pre shows) today because the blather from Crofty and co about this is likely to be unbearable.

    I think I’ll just watch with the sound down. It seems that discussion about drivers, their personal habits etc get discussed endlessly over the top of what is actually happening on track.

    It’s over, let’s get on with the racing.

    1. Agreed, Crofty is bad but have seen Matthew Marsh on Fox Sports, he makes Crofty look really good.

  36. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    14th July 2017, 3:32

    Give the guy a break – one thing is for sure, Lewis didn’t meet with any Russians after the Austrian GP!

  37. Well, though I think it is very strange why Lewis wasn’t there, I think it isn’t shameful or anything like that. Ok he didn’t want to come, and I think the reasoning he gives doesn’t make sense in my view or doesn’t convince me, but whatever…

    It might indicate that currently he isn’t mentally at his best however.. But that is also pure speculation and can be wrong of course.

  38. Storm in a glass of water as we say over here.
    If the man had something else planned, so be it.

  39. Don’t give 2 hoots if he was there or not, I wasn’t there either.
    Ignore all the hatred Lewis and go and win the WDC, you will be cheered at Silverstone as usual.

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