Tuesday 22 August 2017

Eighteen Formula One drivers split Shanghai restaurant bill 18 ways

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton

Philip Duncan

Formula One drivers may be among the best paid sportsmen in the world, but that did not stop them from splitting the bill 18 ways following their dinner in Shanghai on Wednesday night.

Lewis Hamilton, who last year signed a £100million three-year contract with Mercedes, said he picked the restaurant - an Italian called The Kitchen - and laid down the deposit for a meal which all but four of the grid attended.

But when it came to who picked up the bill, he claimed his offer to pay was shot down by his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

"It was a little bit silly really, ridiculous because someone said, 'Let's share the bill', so 18 drivers shared a bill which is just insane," Hamilton said with a smile.

"It probably wasn't really that expensive. I did say 'why don't I just get it now, or two of us get it now, and then the next time someone else gets it'.

"And they are like 'no, no, no. I want to pay individually'.

"We all got a receipt, 18 receipts, 18 credit cards, it was the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. I have never seen anything like that before."

Asked who made that suggestion, Hamilton replied: "I am pretty sure it was Nico."

When Hamilton's version of events was then put to his Mercedes team-mate, Rosberg said. "Really? Interesting. From what I can remember, the hidden agreement usually is that the world champion pays, but that might just be my opinion."

The drivers, minus Kimi Raikkonen, the Renault duo of Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen and Indonesia's Rio Haryanto, posed for a photograph following their dinner which a number of them subsequently posted on to their social media accounts.

Rosberg accompanied his selfie with the hashtag "windbagsunited" following Bernie Ecclestone's disparaging remarks about the drivers in Bahrain.

"Bernie was so kind as to call us that so I'd thought I'd just mention it again," Rosberg added.

"It doesn't p*** me off at all because in the end what we're trying to do is help, we love the sport, we want it to be the most fascinating sport in the world and beat everything else out there.

"In the end we're driving the cars. We know what we need to find even more enjoyment. We know best, we're in the car, nobody else really knows, so we can help and we also think we have a really good understanding of what everybody else at home is looking for, and wants for it to be even more fun to watch so that's all we're trying to do.

"If it works or not, who knows but it's worth a try that we stick together and yesterday there was no message or hidden reason or whatever, it was just having a good time and we see where it takes us."

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