China unhappy with Lewis spraying champagne on presenters




Mercedes driver and the winner of the 2015 Chinese Grand Prix held last weekend, Lewis Hamilton has come under the hammer for an image published in the local newspaper in China where he is seen praying champagne on the face of a presenter girl on the podium just after his victory.

2015 Chinese Grand Prix - Lewis Hamilton

2015 Chinese Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton

Roz Hardie, CEO of anti-sexism group of Object, called on Hamilton to apologize for what he described as a selfish act. Hardie told the Mail Online, “The photographs appear to show that the woman was not being splashed but directed into her face, which does not look like voluntary piece of horseplay on her part”. He added that, “For most people it would be apparent that she is not enjoying it. It is surely a very difficult position to be a grid girl and she would have had little option but to stand there and take it. He (Lewis) appears to have abused her position”.

Hardie insisted that, “Lewis Hamilton should apologise for his actions and think carefully about how he behaves in the future.”

The images of Lewis’s post-race victory celebrations has been circulating amongst the Chinese networking sites and has attracted a lot of hatred from this incident. The picture shows her face in dismay and suffering as Lewis continuously sprays the champagne sporting a huge smile. The particular hostess was caught surprised when Lewis suddenly turned to her and started to spray on her face. The embarrassing situation escalated for her, when her colleagues and other hostesses moved back and were seen laughing in the background. Lewis Hamilton is now under the threat of facing a ban from returning to China for his “bullying” and “selfish” celebrations after winning the Chinese Grand Prix. Reports back in the driver’s home country have labelled him as an ‘embarrassment to the UK’.

On the other hand, there are many including the Mercedes team itself, who have defended the double world champion, saying that spraying champagne is a part of post-race Formula One celebration. Drivers soak themselves and others on the podium with champagne including sometimes their teammates standing downstairs. Louise Richardson, a 22-year old UK based racing driver twitted that “If you choose to go on the podium after a race, expect to get covered”, which many seemed to agree with.

The tradition of spraying champagne in Formula One Grand Prix dates back half a century when a champagne bottle exploded during the post-race presentation ceremony. Lewis has had his share of popularity with his champagne spraying skills back in 2013, when he was asked to display his champagne skills on the Graham Norton’s talk show. Lewis seems to have made it a sort of signature move to spray on the hostesses after his race wins. However, this is the first time he is heavily getting criticized for it.

It is quite a shame that Lewis who had a great weekend and his victory supposedly the perfect finish to his Chinese story this year, is now marred by the controversy of his behaviour and character. China and the particularly the South-Asian region have deep respect for manners and culture. The Western culture differs a lot and people who come from foreign soil are usually ignorant of such issues. Hamilton is unlikely to face such celebratory issues at the next race at Bahrain, in case he wins it as champagne is banned to respect the country’s region, Islam.

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Anjan K Merkap

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