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Hamilton vows to remain a tax exile in Switzerland
Lewis Hamilton declared yesterday that he will stay a tax exile despite making history for Britain as the youngest Formula One champion.

The 23-year-old, who hails from Hertfordshire, said he would continue to live in Switzerland 'for the moment'.

His thrilling last-gasp victory on Sunday in the Brazilian Grand Prix could put Hamilton on course to become the world's highest paid sportsman. But his decision to stay abroad will disappoint fans including racing legend Sir Stirling Moss, who has led calls for him to return to the UK.

Callers swamped a BBC Radio Five Live phone-in complaining that Hamilton's triumph was sullied by his decision last year to move abroad, cutting his tax bills by at least £4million a year. However, Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe said yesterday: 'We should be proud. Lewis Hamilton is clearly proud of being British. He is a great role model for kids.

'He may live in Switzerland but Formula One is that type of world. British drivers in the past have done the same thing.' Other callers said Hamilton was merely following in the footsteps of other British F1 stars such as David Coulthard, Jenson Button and another world champion, Nigel Mansell.

Hamilton's victory drew a record number of TV viewers, with a peak of 13.1million for the finale, said ITV.

After claiming the title, Hamilton headed into Sao Paulo to celebrate with his pop star girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger. She showered Hamilton with kisses after his win and said they were 'soul mates'.

Yesterday he returned the compliment, praising her 'positive energy' and saying: 'She's an amazing person.'

If Hamilton can repeat his triumph, there is speculation he could rake in £1billion during his career.

PR expert Max Clifford said: 'He was the crown prince and now the king. Lewis Hamilton is effectively a superstar. 'Racing is a vastly lucrative sport - more so than football or tennis. He's young, good looking and talented, so when you put it with the driving, sponsorships, endorsements and public appearances, he could make a lot of money.'

Hamilton was more coy. He said he was not even thinking of treating himself to a present for becoming Britain's ninth world champion.

'I'm comfortable in life,' he said. 'Money doesn't really appeal to me. As a young kid, to be given an opportunity in Formula One, I would have done it for free.

'It just so happens I get paid to do my hobby, everything I love, and it's nice to be able to take care of my family. That's all that really matters, so I'm happy.' Mail Online
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