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Lewis Hamilton slammed for spraying champagne on hostess. She says...

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Formula One drivers spray champagne after winning a race.

According to August Man, this ubiquitous winner's ritual began at the Le Mans 24 hour race in 1967.

Dan Gurney, winning driver of the Shelby-American team, sprayed the crowd with champagne.

So it was no surprise that Chinese Grand Prix champion Lewis Hamilton sprayed a hostess with champagne after he won.

What was surprising and saw him slammed online was that he appeared to be targetting the Chinese podium girl. Going off the pictures, she looked disgruntled with Hamilton's expression of triumph.

The backlash was vociferous with comments branding Hamilton as sexist and insensitive.

Netizen Camilla Long called Hamilton a "gold-plated a**".

Rafidy ArisTweeted: "Lewis Hamilton, this is too much!"

But some netizens like Emily Chambers defended Hamilton.

"Lewis Hamilton being labelled sexist for spraying a grid girl in the face with champagne whilst celebrating his win... Get a grip morons."

But was the hostess really upset about the jet of champagne in her face?

The 23-year-old grid girl gave a rather cryptic response today, in an interview with Shanghai Daily.

The Daily Mail reported via Shanghai Daily that amid the sexism storm, Ms Liu Siying said that she had no idea that the incident would become an issue.

Said the Shanghai Institute Of Visual Art graduate:

"It lasted for only one or two seconds, and I did not think too much about it at all.

"I think some foreign media are more sensitive about the topic compared to local media.

"I was just told by my employer to stand on the podium, and that’s what I did."

Ms Liu, who now works for a real estate compan, had asked to work as a podium model for the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai because she was a fan of Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen.

Sadly for Ms Liu, Raikkonen missed the podium, coming in fourth place thanks to the late intervention of the safety car.

But while Ms Liu appears to have brushed off the incident, the pictures of Hamilton aiming the champagne spray at her face still have the power to rile.

Object, a campaign group against sexism, has condemned Hamilton's behaviour as "selfish and inconsiderate" and have called on him to apologise to the Ms Liu. 

Others have called the driving ace an "embarrassment to the UK", while another said his actions showed that he was an "ignorant clown".

The practice of F1 drivers spraying champagne on the podium dates back decades, with the Mumm brand providing the fizz since 2000 and many in the sport were bemused by the criticism levelled against Hamilton.

Race winners routinely spray everyone within sight, as well as themselves.

Red Bull's technical head Adrian Newey once even appeared on the podium wearing goggles to protect his eyes from the drenching he knew was coming.

There will be no champagne to spray in the race in Bahrain this weekend, though, with the Middle East's oldest grand prix offering bottles of non-alcoholic rosewater known as Waard instead.

Source: August Man, BuzzFeed, Daily Mail, Reuters




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