Hamilton: ‘I’m super proud to be from Stevenage’
Lewis Hamilton has told Stevenage fans not to bother with his comments on his hometown after sparking outrage by calling it a slum.
The F1 driver drew criticism from Stevenage Council's leader as well as other former residents of the town when he spoke about his childhood in an interview on stage at Sports Personality of the Year.
He told host Gabby Logan he had been keen to get out of the "slums".
But in a video posted to social media, Hamilton issued something of an apology, saying he chose the wrong words.
However he seemed to tell critics they needed to move on from the remark, suggesting it was "negative energy".
In an Instagram video he said: "Good day, people, I hope you're all well wherever you are, I'm sending you positive energy.
"I wanted to take a second to send a message back to people in the UK but also to people Stevenage, where I grew up and somewhere I am incredibly proud of coming from and still love to this day.
"Please if you have any feelings about a mistake that I made on stage, don't bother with it, throw it to the side, it's negative energy that you don't need to hold.
"I'm super proud of where I come from and I hope you know that I represent in the best way I can always.
"Nobody's 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, I chose the wrong words.
"I didn't mean anything by it and those of you that know me know I always mean love."
On the Sunday night award shows, the Mercedes driver said: "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.
"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."
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The Hertfordshire town, which is about 30 miles north of London, became the UK's first New Town in 1946 and property prices are just above the national average, according to the Rightmove and Zoopla websites.
Hamilton was born and raised in the town, where he went to school with England and Manchester United star Ashley Young, and started go-karting there when he was six.