The podium model who was sprayed with champagne by Lewis Hamilton following his win in the Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix said she was not offended by the actions of the British driver.
The reigning world champion, who drives for Mercedes, angered many people after being pictured squirting bubbly directly into the face of 22-year-old Liu Siying.
“It lasted for only one or two seconds, and I didn’t think too much about it,” the graduate of the Shanghai Institute of Visual Art told Shanghai Daily in an exclusive interview yesterday.
The controversy began after Hamilton’s win on Sunday in the latest round of the 2015 F1 campaign at the Shanghai International Circuit.
The website of the United Kingdom-based Daily Mail ran with the headline: “What a loser: Ungallant F1 ace Lewis Hamilton under fire for spraying helpless hostess in the face with champagne after winning Chinese Grand Prix.”
Liu, who works for the administrative department of a local real estate company, was far less upset.
“I think some foreign media are more sensitive about the topic than local media,” she said.
Liu said she is a fan of Finnish F1 driver Kimi Raikkonen and worked as a hostess at last year’s event. Sunday was the first time she had worked as a podium model.
“I was just told by my employer to stand on the podium, and that’s what I did,” she said.
Liu even appealed for people not to get overly concerned about the issue.
Alongside images of the “spraying” she uploaded to her Weibo account, she wrote: “I can’t control other people’s behavior when I’m working. I hope the public doesn’t make too much of it, or that it affects my personal life.”
The Daily Mail claimed that a “leading group which campaigns against sexism” condemned Hamilton’s behavior, while the Australia-based Business Insider also suggested his actions were inappropriate.
In an article on Tuesday, it said: “Drivers have been spraying each other and their crews with champagne for nearly 50 years, but any others soaked by the tradition are collateral damage.
“Hamilton’s targeting of women in a highly masculinized sport is seen as a step too far, especially against people powerless to take control of the situation.”
Hamilton has yet to comment publicly on the issue.