Lewis Hamilton criticised for calling Stevenage home a ‘not-great place’

Lewis Hamilton talking to the press at the 2013 Monaco Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

Lewis Hamilton talking to the press at the 2013 Monaco Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz] - Credit: Archant

Formula One star Lewis Hamilton should “remember his roots”, according to councillors, after describing his former Stevenage home as a “not-great place”.

During an interview in the run-up to the Monaco Grand Prix last weekend, the 2008 Formula One champion claimed he was “hungrier” than Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg because of their different backgrounds.

He said: “I come from a not-great place in Stevenage and lived on a couch in my dad’s apartment – and Nico grew up in Monaco with jets and hotels and boats and all these kinds of things – so the hunger is different.”

Hamilton, a former Peartree Junior School and John Henry Newman School student, previously lived on Peartree Way before moving to Woodfield Road with dad Anthony.

It was while living there that McLaren boss Ron Dennis signed the then-13-year-old Hamilton to the team’s young driver support programme which eventually led to him becoming the sport’s youngest ever world champion.

Responding to Hamilton’s comments, Cllr Philip Bibby, councillor for the Woodfield area where Mr Hamilton lived, said: “I can’t see how he can say such things about the place where he grew up. He needs to remember his roots.

“The council runs numerous schemes with the aim of providing opportunities for all our young people – from the academic through to the athletic and artistic types. His comments are unfair.”

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Cllr Howard Burrell, Stevenage Borough Council’s (SBC) member for young people, culture, sport, and leisure, said: “I think Stevenage is a great place to grow up and there was no need for Lewis to be so derogatory in his comments. It’s where he came from, after all.

“I would prefer it if he chose to highlight some of the benefits of coming from our town as he is, without question, the most successful sportsperson we have ever produced. There is no need to say such things about his home town.”

SBC leader Sharon Taylor said: “Of course we are very proud of Lewis – he’s an incredible example of what people from Stevenage can do. But it would be a lot better if he could speak up for the place he comes from. We would love to talk to him about promoting the town.

“He’s an inspiration to other young people and we want them to feel they can become the best in their field – just as he has.”