Lewis Hamilton says his reception in Italy has “shifted a lot”

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Lewis Hamilton says in the past Mercedes “couldn’t wear the team shirt into the circuit” at Monza, but now they’re “just having such a warm welcome from the Italian fans”.

Ahead of the Italian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton explained how much the reception he gets from the Italian fans has changed in recent years.

During Lewis’ years of domination he was not the most popular person in Italy, mostly because he was seen as the person denying Ferrari a much desired title win.

The Briton says this has changed in recent years.

“It’s shifted a lot,” Lewis said.

“I think from the beginning, it was, I mean… I can’t remember if it was here… No it was somewhere else that I got black cats thrown at me.

“But I think here was, yeah, I remember there was a period of time where we couldn’t wear the team shirt into the circuit, to now just having such a warm welcome from the Italian fans.

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“And finally, for the last, God knows how many years, just feeling really welcome here.

“And in a place that I’ve loved since I was like 13, the first time I started racing in Italy, in Parma and Jesolo and South Garda.

“And it brought me so much happiness. I had so many great memories out here, eating as many pizzas as possible, the great pasta and the best lasagna ever. And the gelato.

“So to finally be embraced within the culture, and especially with this incredible crowd that we get here.

“You know, obviously, a large percent are Ferrari fans, but the passion that the Italian fans have is second to none.

“So I think we got a cool little following here, and I look forward to seeing them this weekend,” Hamilton concluded.

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