Lewis Hamilton says he's not distracted by 'Paradise Papers'
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, listens to a question during a news conference for the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix auto race at the Circuit of the Americas, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
By Mauricio Savarese, Associated Press
SAO PAULO (AP) — Being linked to tax avoidance in the "Paradise Papers" will not distract Lewis Hamilton from his job.
The four-time Formula One champion said Wednesday that his "core values" are intact despite being named in the papers, which show he avoided paying more than $4 million in taxes for a private jet.
Hamilton, who won his fourth F1 title on Oct. 29 in Mexico, is in Sao Paulo for this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix.
"I've come from this great period of time with my family and friends that have this huge wave of positivity. Nothing can really dent that," the Mercedes driver said. "I am solely focused on the race this weekend, and we have two races to go. That doesn't distract me from my core values and what I am here to do."
Hamilton's lawyers noted in a statement that registering a jet in the tax haven of the Isle of Man is legal.
The "Paradise Papers" revealed that Hamilton was given refund of more than $4 million after his Bombardier Challenger 605 was imported to the Isle of Man in 2013.
The papers also name several leading figures in politics, business and art.
At 32, Hamilton is closing in on Michael Schumacher's record of seven F1 titles. But he said wasn't interested in chasing that mark.
"It has never been my desire," Hamilton said. "I still have time ahead of me. The question is to see exactly what I want. I never had the dream to chase Michael."
After the news conference, Hamilton autographed a miniature Mercedes with boyhood idol Ayrton Senna painted on it.
Vivianne Senna, sister of the late three-time F1 champion, said she and the family will cheer for Hamilton on Sunday.
"We can see your passion for Ayrton is real," she said. "That is why we from the Senna family will be always on your side, too."