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Lewis Hamilton may need refuge from media

The F1 championship leader may have to move away from surging media attention in Britain in order to protect his private life.

india Updated: Jun 19, 2007 20:03 IST

Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton may have to move away from surging media attention in Britain in order to protect his private life, McLaren team boss Ron Dennis has said.

"If there is a continuous invasion of privacy, then he will have to find somewhere to live to avoid that," British newspapers quoted Dennis as saying on Tuesday.

Dennis did not say outright that the rookie, who is 10 points clear of double world champion team mate Fernando Alonso, should move abroad.

However, many highly-paid grand prix drivers, including compatriots Jenson Button and David Coulthard, live in Monaco while others prefer Switzerland.

"The invasion of his privacy will become a big issue. It is something we will avoid at all costs," Dennis said of the 22-year-old Briton.

Triple world champion Jackie Stewart, a fellow Briton, has said moving abroad for a friendlier tax regime would be a good way for Hamilton to protect his fast-growing earnings but Dennis said this would not motivate any such move.

"If it happens, it will not be driven by something fiscal," he said.

Hamilton grew up in Stevenage, north of London. He lives close to the McLaren factory in Woking, southwest of London, during the week but returns home at weekends when not travelling the world.

He recognised after finishing on the podium in all his first three races that his life was changing, with photographers parked outside his house all day and people recognising him whenever he went out.

Since then, with the youngster notching up his seventh successive podium last weekend at Indianapolis, the media attention has grown significantly.

Celebrated in the United States as the first black driver to win a grand prix, he is now the best British title prospect since the country's last champion Damon Hill in 1996.

First Published: Jun 19, 2007 19:15 IST