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Lewis Hamilton defends no-show at F1's London demo

SILVERSTONE -- Lewis Hamilton has explained why he opted to fly to Greece for a holiday rather than take part in an F1 demonstration event on the streets of London on Wednesday.

Hamilton was the only driver on the current grid not to take part in the event, choosing instead to fly to a Greek island on a private jet with his friends.

Lewis Hamilton. ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images
"Everyone had the right to make their own decision," Hamilton said. "For me I felt that it has been a pretty intense season so far and, for me, I needed to prepare the best way I could this weekend. The season is the most important thing for me and that's it."

The crowds that flocked to Trafalgar Square booed Hamilton's name when he was mentioned on stage on Wednesday night, while title rival Sebastian Vettel received one of the biggest ovations of the day. But Hamilton, who arrived back in the UK on Thursday morning to go straight to Silverstone, said he had not followed the event in London.

"I genuinely haven't been on my phone the last couple of days," he said. "I've tried to switch off mostly. I've turned it on a couple of times to receive a message but I tried to stay away from it. "Personally, I feel I've prepared the best way I could this weekend and that's really all I can do. Of course, people are going to have opinions about it but 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 and love this race, and I don't feel that yesterday personally plays any role in how great this weekend is for me. Every season for the last ten years it's been incredible and growing every year.

"You get people who have saved up so much through the year to come up to this grand prix and you will have seen the previous years how much I have appreciated and respected that and try to give and enjoy the weekend with the fans, and that doesn't change."

When Hamilton was asked if he had missed a great opportunity to connect with the public outside of a grand prix weekend, he defended his record of communicating with fans by stating that he has the biggest social media following of any F1 driver.

"I like to think I do everything I can to connect with the fans and I do have the biggest following here in Formula One and I communicate with them as much as I can," he said.

"The fans mean everything to me, they always have, and I make no secret of that and I think hopefully my commitment to the sport over the last ten years and what I do outside the sport -- things that perhaps you don't comment on, such as when I go to visit a hospital and spend time with young kids who can't come to a grand prix. That's not something you potentially report on, but that's something that is very important to me and that's where I feel I like to put my energy mostly.

"I think ultimately we have decisions to make and you have to stand firm with the decisions you make and feel proud of the decisions you make. I personally do and coming here this weekend I'm coming here to do everything I can to shine as much light and raise the flag in the best way I can, proudly, and drive the best I can.

"The goal is to win the British Grand Prix for my home crowd and I've been really fortunate the last three years to do that and the yearning and the will to want to do that again is greater than ever."

Source: http://www.espn.co.uk/f1/story/_/id/19993940/lewis-hamilton-defends-no-show-f1-london-demo

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