Lewis Hamilton has confirmed that he will skip the F1 Live event in London on Wednesday (12 July) leading up to the British Grand Prix in Silverstone this weekend despite all the 10 Formula 1 teams confirming their participation in the first of its kind event to bring the sport closer to the fans.
The event will see appearances of all the teams and drivers, while F1 cars will be driven from Whitehall up to Trafalgar Square. The event will be organised in two parts – the first will be F1 Schools and Innovation to showcase the exciting opportunities and careers open to children interested in making a career in motorsport. This will be followed by the F1 London Show and Parade.
Hamilton, who is arguably the most popular driver in the sport today and one of only two British drivers on the grid – the other being Jolyon Palmer - has decided to skip the event to take a two-day holiday ahead of the 10th race of the season. According to the Daily Mail, the three-time world champion has snubbed a direct order from Mercedes and will be missing the showpiece event raising questions about some underlying tension between the driver and the team.
"To my loving fans, I can't wait to see you in Silverstone. Until then, I'm away on a two day break. God Bless you all. Love, Lewis," Hamilton communicated via his official Twitter account.
The 32-year-old Briton is in an intense battle with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel for the 2017 title but fell further behind after the Austrian Grand Prix when he finished fourth as the German championship leader came in second behind Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas.
It was the Finn's second win after joining Mercedes at the start of the campaign, and he has now established himself as one of the title contenders after closing the gap on Vettel and Hamilton. He is only 35 points behind the Ferrari driver and just 15 behind his teammate, who feels Bottas has had a better overall season thus far.
The former Williams driver has had one DNF and one sixth place finish, but apart from that he has finished in the top four in the other seven races with Mercedes thus far. Hamilton believes his teammate is very much in the race for a title and believes it was only the media that dubbed it a two- horse race for the championship.
"Valtteri did a fantastic job, so he thoroughly deserved to win," Hamilton said of Bottas' Austrian GP performance, as quoted by ESPN. "When you look at the results, he's also had a DNF as well. He's generally had a better season I would say so far."
"There was never a point that he was never in the fight. I think it was only you guys who potentially suggested that he was never in the battle. I always assumed he still was, and that just shows he still is," the Briton added.