Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton apologises to residents of hometown Stevenage for slum comment

London: Five-times Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has apologised to residents of his boyhood hometown Stevenage for suggesting he grew up in a slum.

The Briton, his country's most successful racing driver, said on national television at Sunday's BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards that it had been a dream for him and his family "to get out of the slums".

Formula One F1 driver Lewis Hamilton arrives to the FIA awards ceremony in St. Petersburg, Russia December 7, 2018. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov - UP1EEC719BS9E

Lewis Hamilton at the FIA awards ceremony. Reuters/Anton Vaganov

"Well, not the slums, but to get out of somewhere and do something," the Mercedes driver, who is now a multi-millionaire with homes in Monaco and the United States, added immediately after.

The comment drew condemnation from offended civic authorities and on social media.

Hamilton, who speaks often about his journey from an underprivileged background to the pinnacle of motor racing, said in an Instagram post on Tuesday that he had made a mistake.

The 33-year-old, only the third driver to win five championships, said he was "super proud" to come from the commuter town some 40km north of London where he was born and raised.

"Nobody is perfect and I definitely make mistakes quite often, particularly when you are up in front of a crowd trying to find the right words to express the long journey you've had in life," he said.

"I chose the wrong words. I didn't mean anything by it and those of you who know me, know that I always mean love."

Hamilton finished second in the awards, behind Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas.

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Updated Date: Dec 19, 2018 10:19 AM

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