Hamilton to move to Switzerland to avoid media glare


London : British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton is to move to Switzerland to escape the excessive public and media attention he has had in his home country over the last year.

Support TwoCircles

The McLaren driver, who finished second in the drivers’ championship in his debut season, will join Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen in Switzerland.

“Over there people don’t come up to you, they leave you alone and give you space,” the 22-year-old told BBC Sport. “I’m going to a country that I don’t know but it’s very exciting.”

Ironically, the news comes a day after his hometown of Stevenage announced that it was naming a street after the McLaren driver.

Switzerland is a popular choice for F1 drivers looking to relocate, with Alonso and Raikkonen – his rivals in this season’s thrilling title chase – already living there, along with seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher.

Financial issues may also have played a part in Hamilton’s thinking, with wealthy Switzerland residents paying significantly less tax than in Britain.

Hamilton said he had found it impossible to live a normal life since soaring to fame in an astonishing rookie F1 season in the sport.

“You lose your ability to go places – you don’t understand what that means until you get there and you really struggle to lead a normal life.

“I can’t go to the cinema. I go to the bathroom in a petrol station and people come in even there for autographs.”

Hamilton insisted that his relationship with McLaren team-mate Alonso was not as strained as has been widely reported.

“We’re not best friends and he doesn’t call me up to come to my house but we say ‘Hi’ – sometimes we play Playstation, sometimes we have dinner together.

Hamilton also dismissed any suggestions that he could be interested in a move to Ferrari, emphasising the fact that he was living out his childhood dream by driving for McLaren.