Four-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has confirmed that the decision to wipe his social media channels over the winter break had been long-planned by his management team.

Hamilton sparked controversy in December when he uploaded a video of himself telling a young family member that "boys don't wear dresses", causing a backlash across social media.

Hamilton apologised for the comments before deleting the majority of his posts from both Twitter and Instagram a few days later, seemingly in response to the episode.

However, Hamilton has now revealed that the move was always planned for the winter break by his management team, but that the timing proved to be a happy coincidence.

"We always planned at the end of the year to start a clean slate at the beginning of this year. It just so happened that it turned out to be an opportunistic time to change it," Hamilton said.

"It’s always difficult to make a change [in approach] because I’m quite happy. But we are in a very strange time in the world where things are magnified more than perhaps there were in previous years, so it’s a critical time for the world.

"For me personally, I think I’ll continue to show what I am doing. I think it’s just about being maybe a little more strategic in what I do or don’t show.

"It is a gateway to connect my fans in a way that I am not able to do at race weekends, so it will continue to be a part of my life."

Mercedes F1 team boss Toto Wolff was asked if he saw Hamilton's social media activities as a distraction to his racing duties, but was quick to dismiss the suggestion.

"I think there is so much crap in the social media. What’s big today has no relevance tomorrow," Wolff said.

"The best thing is to entertain yourself and ignore the haters."

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