LEWIS HAMILTON says he loves the UK – even if some Brits don’t love him back.
The reigning F1 world champion has made no secret of his fondness for his home country, even if he lives in the tax haven of Monaco.
Hamilton, 35, is a big fan of the queen and in an Instagram post joked that he’d love to move into Buckingham Palace.
The Brit, who is on course to win a record-equalling seventh F1 title next week in Turkey, has not lived in the UK since 2007.
He wrote: “This year I have missed England more than any year since I’ve lived abroad.
“I never miss the cold or grey skies but the countryside, the trees, cars driving on the right side of the road lol, the little villages I used to drive through and Buckingham Palace where I’ve always wanted to live (kidding, that’s a line from the movie Cool Runnings).
“Anyway, I’m so proud to stand and represent the British flag and I’m so grateful to those who support me.
“The greatest honour an athlete gets is to stand and lift the flag of their nation. I will continue to do so for as long as I can.”
Hamilton is F1’s most successful driver of all time with 93 wins, first moved to Switzerland before switching to Monaco.
It has led to accusations that he did so to avoid paying tax. Yet even with his shrewd business set up, he is still in the top 5,000 of UK taxpayers.
And he continues to be beaten by the hate mob, unlike Sir Jackie Stewart, who lives in Switzerland, or Jenson Button, who lived in Monaco before moving to the US.
Hamilton, who is estimated to be worth £224million, has yet to sign a new deal at Mercedes, believed to be worth up to £40m a year.
Meanwhile, Hamilton has been hailed as ‘honourable’ by former McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh, who also referred to Michael Schumacher as ‘dirty’.
In an interview with Motorsport Magazine, Whitmarsh, who joined McLaren in 1989 and left in 2014, said: “I’ve got many happy memories of Jenson Button, Mika Hakkinen, Kimi Räikkönen, Juan Pablo Montoya, even Fernando [Alonso]. Extraordinary people in many ways.
“But the two who hover in my personal experience, that have had this aura of ‘incredibleness’, were Ayrton Senna and Lewis.
“When I met Ayrton he had that already, but when I first met Lewis he didn’t. It has grown, and it’s all his doing, his achievement. I was fortunate to have been close to the journey.
“I could never relate to Schumacher in the way maybe I should have done.
“He was always the foe, the dirty one trying to cheat against my driver, so I’m not balanced about Michael.
“Lewis is ruthless, but he wants to win in a genuinely honest and honourable way. I don’t think that mattered to Schumacher.
“You have got to admire people who maintain a degree of innocence and sincerity, like Lewis and Mika, who never pulled a dirty move.”