London, Nov.7 : Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton has said that he is keen to put the racism row that threatened to derail his bid for the world title behind him.
However, he does not share Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone's view that it was blown out of all proportion. According to The Telegraph, Hamilton was abused during a pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya, near Barcelona, in February. Some spectators were pictured mocking Hamilton by wearing wigs, dark make-up and t-shirts with the slogan 'Hamilton's Family'.
And in the run up to last weekend's pivotal Brazilian Grand Prix, hundreds of abusive messages were posted on a website in Spain, many of them racist.
However, Ecclestone has moved to defuse the row.
"I think it's all nonsense," he said. "In Spain people were supporting (Fernando) Alonso and in Sao Paolo they were supporting Felipe (Massa). "I don't think it was anything to do with racism," he was quoted, as saying. Hamilton, who clinched the world title on the last corner at the final grand prix at Brazil, has said the incident was far from a laughing matter, but was grateful for the support of his fans back in England.
Hamilton won the title after overtaking Timo Glock in the final mile to claim the fifth place he required, with Felipe Massa having won the race.
Story first published: Friday, November 7, 2008, 17:29 [IST]
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