Lewish Hamilton has been getting a lot of flak online for his post-race celebration at the Chinese Grand Prix where he sprayed champagne straight into the face of a Chinese hostess. Photographs show the girl clearly uncomfortable and squirming, leading to uproar and calls for the 30-year-old British driver to apologize immediately. On the other hand, confused racing fans are questioning why the stunt has been called discriminatory when usual tradition sees male drivers and anyone else on the podium showered with the magnum of champagne.
Most notably, a leading British group which campaigns against sexism has condemned the behavior of the driver as ‘selfish and inconsiderate’, saying he should be forced to apologise for ‘specially directing’ the bubbly into the woman’s face. Roz Hardie, chief executive of the Object group, said: “The photographs appear to show that the woman is not just being splashed, but that the champagne is being very specifically directed into her face, which does not look like a voluntary piece of horseplay on her part. If this if the case we think Lewis Hamilton should apologise for his actions and think carefully about how he behaves in the future. 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. That is something of which he should be aware. But instead, he appears to have abused her position.” Yet others have called the driving ace an ’embarrassment to the UK’, while another said his behaviour showed that he was an ‘ignorant clown’.
But with this type of celebration being such a regular part of post-race festivities, many felt it was a bit much to call Hamilton’s actions sexist.
In related news, Hamilton was followed over the finish line at the Chinese GP by Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, who angrily accused the world champion of trying to compromise his race. “Driving slower than was necessary meant Sebastian was very close and that opened up the opportunity for him to try and jump me. I’m unhappy about that,” the German said.