Lewis Hamilton has said he made “a mistake” to refer to his home town, Stevenage, as the “slums”.
Hamilton made the comment at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards on Sunday, where he finished runner-up in the main prize behind Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas.
The five-time World Champion immediately corrected himself, but that still wasn’t enough to stop people getting riled up.
“It really was a dream for us all as a family to do something different,” Hamilton said on stage, discussing his rise to the top.
“For us to get out of the slums.
“Well, not the slums, but to get out of somewhere and do something. We all set our goals very, very high but we did it as a team.”
The comments have drawn the attention of the national press over the following days, leading Hamilton to address the situation on Instagram before later deleting his video.
“I wanted to take a second to send a message to people back in the UK but also to people in Stevenage, where I grew up, somewhere I’m incredibly proud of coming from and still love to this day,” he said.
“Please, if you are getting up in your feelings about a mistake I made on stage, don’t bother with it, throw it to the side, it’s negative energy you don’t need to hold.
“I’m super proud of where I’ve come from and I hope you know I represent in the best way 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 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 I always mean love. So, God bless you, have a great day.”
Hamilton’s latest clear-up comes just a month after he addressed referring to India as “a poor place”, which also drew widespread criticism.