F1 champion Hamilton more 'strategic' online after video row
FILE - 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)
SILVERSTONE, England (AP) — Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton plans to be more "strategic" on social media after provoking outrage for chastising his nephew for wearing a princess dress.
The Mercedes driver made his first public appearance since posting the Instagram video on Thursday, launching his car for the new season at Silverstone circuit.
In the video posted around Christmas with his nephew, Hamilton said "Why are you wearing a princess dress?" before telling him that "boys don't wear princess dresses!" The criticism led to Hamilton retreating from social media and deleting the contents of his accounts.
"We had already planned at the end of the year to start a clean slate, and it just so happened that it was an opportunistic time to change it," the four-time world champion said. "Moving forward, there is a balance you have to strike. I have been very open with my life for several years and it is always difficult to make a change because I have enjoyed being open.
"But we are living in strange times where things are magnified a lot more than they were in previous years. It is a critical time for the world. I will continue to show the world what I am doing, but it is about being more strategic in what I do show and don't show."
Hamilton does still see social networks as "the gateway to connect to fans."
"So it will be a part of my life," the British driver added. "As to how deep I will go, we will see."
Hamilton takes part in winter testing in Barcelona next week ahead of the season opener in Melbourne on March 25.
The 33-year-old Hamilton is entering the final season of his three-year contract but talks are underway about a new deal with Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff.
"It is just the details," Hamilton said, "so hopefully it's done before the start of the season, before the first race, but there's no rush, and no panic.
"I am not feeling pressure from other drivers and Toto has no reason to believe I am speaking to anyone else. In the six years I have been here, I have not spoken to another team and that shows how committed I am."