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He did? No he didn't!

October 13, 2015 12:46 IST
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I never sprayed Putin, says Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton

IMAGE: Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, leaves the winners' podium as Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain sprays champagne in celebration. Photograph: Grigory Dukor/Reuters

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has dismissed as wide of the mark reports that he sprayed Russian President Vladimir Putin with the winner's champagne after Sunday's grand prix in Sochi.

"I actually didn't. I didn't actually spray him. I think there's a weird picture but I didn't spray him. I definitely don't want anything (to happen)," the Mercedes driver told Sky Sports television on Monday with a smile.

Hamilton, who flew back home to Britain to join the team's celebrations after they won their second successive constructors' championship in Russia, has got into trouble previously for his champagne-spraying antics on the podium.

Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP

IMAGE: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP celebrates on the podium. Photograph: Dan Istitene/Getty Images

He was criticised and accused of sexist bullying in April for aiming a spray of champagne directly in the face of a Chinese Grand Prix hostess in Shanghai.

That incident, highlighted in photographs that showed the woman flinching, triggered condemnation in Britain and Germany as well as on Chinese social media but the hostess herself played it down.

 Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP

IMAGE: A clear picture! Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP celebrates. Photograph: Lars Baron/Getty Images

Putin presented Hamilton with the winner's trophy on Sunday, with the Briton starting the traditional champagne spraying ritual before the president had left the podium.

Photographs appeared to show dark flecks of champagne foam on the back of Putin's jacket as he departed.

Some media reports subsequently suggested Hamilton, who is now on the brink of a third drivers' title, had 'soaked' the Russian leader, leading to jokes on social media about what punishment the driver might suffer.

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Source: REUTERS
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