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Lewis Hamilton insists 'core values' remain intact after allegations of tax evasion

The Independent logo The Independent 09/11/2017 Philip Duncan
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Lewis Hamilton insists he has not been distracted and that his "core values" remain intact as he offered his first response to allegations of tax avoidance.

It was reported earlier this week that the Paradise Papers documents showed Hamilton was given a £3.3 million VAT refund on his £16.5m private jet after the aircraft was imported into the Isle of Man in 2013.

A spokesman for the 32-year-old Mercedes driver said on Monday that the deal was "above board" and that "the matter is now in the hands of his lawyers".

"Obviously right now there is a bit of a storm surrounding me," said Hamilton shortly after arriving in Sao Paulo for this week's penultimate round of the season in Brazil.

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"There are many different stories around, but I don't have anything to add to the whole scenario that has happened. It doesn't distract me from my core values, and also what I am here to do which is to try and win the Brazilian Grand Prix for a second time in my life."

Hamilton surpassed Sir Jackie Stewart to become the first British driver in history to win the world championship on more than three occasions after he sealed his fourth title in Mexico last month.

But the Englishman, who celebrated his triumph with trips to Miami, the Caribbean and Peru before touching down in Brazil on Wednesday, has seen his remarkable achievement somewhat overshadowed following the latest claims in the Paradise Papers documents.

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"I have just come back from an eight-day holiday with close family and friends, and had the best time ever," Hamilton added. "It was just amazing to be able to share this great experience of winning the world championship with these people who have been a part of my life.

"So, I come here with this greatest feeling, amazing energy, and want to absorb that positive energy and try to shine my light as bright as I can here in Brazil. I have had this huge wave of positive energy and nothing can really dent that. I carry that here, and I am solely focused on trying to win the race this weekend."

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Hamilton is in Brazil after winning the world title a fortnight ago (Getty)

Hamilton sealed his third crown in as many years following a mighty run since the summer break in which he has won five of the seven races.

But despite taking an unassailable championship lead over Sebastian Vettel into the final two rounds here in Brazil, and Abu Dhabi later this month, the Briton insists he will not be taking his foot off the pedal.

"The championship is done, but there are still two races to go and it is important to win those two races to solidify what I have worked on this year," Hamilton said. "If I was to sit back, relax and let someone else take the glory - sure it would be nice for them - but that is not what I am about.

"So, this weekend I am still faced with the same challenges. It is going to be close, but my goal remains the same. I want to continue to raise the bar."

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