Lewis Hamilton has stated that he is not comfortable competing in Saudi Arabia due to its repressive laws regarding the LGBTQ+ community. Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Grand Prix in Jeddah, Hamilton described the laws as “terrifying” and once again called on Formula 1 to do more to address human rights issues in the countries he’s visiting.
On Wednesday, a group of human rights groups wrote to F1 accusing the sport of complicity in Saudi sport’s laundering by competing in the country. They highlighted women’s rights activists at risk of imprisonment for their actions with Human Rights Watch, citing Saudi Arabia’s “brutal crackdown on peaceful dissent.” Amnesty International called on drivers to speak out, drawing attention to the plight of Saudi gays + people living in a country where same-sex relationships are illegal and punishable by flogging or imprisonment.
Formula 1 has attracted significant criticism for its race in Saudi Arabia, and Hamilton, who has been a vocal advocate of equality and diversity, admitted he did not feel comfortable with the system.
“Do I feel comfortable here? I wouldn’t say I do,” he said. “But it is not my choice to be here, the sport has made the choice to be here.”
Hamilton goes to the meeting, the first of its kind to be held in Saudi Arabia, in close combat Battle with Max Verstappen of Red Bull Which leads the championship with eight points, with two rounds remaining. However, as much as the world champion is focused on this grim finish, Hamilton, as in the past, has also been adamant he will play a part in trying to make a difference.
“While we are here it is important that we try to raise awareness,” he said. “In the last race I saw [rainbow] The helmet you wore. I’ll wear that again here and at the next race [in Abu Dhabi] Because it is an issue. If anyone wants to take the time to read what the law is for the LGBT+ community, this is pretty horrifying. There are changes that need to be made.”
Hamilton’s words will come as a heavy blow to the Saudi authorities who have invested so heavily in attracting sporting events to the country and whose sovereign wealth fund recently succeeded in a takeover bid for Newcastle United. He is the biggest and most famous international star in the sport and this is the first time he has spoken openly about the unease of competing in a particular country due to its oppressive regime.
In the latest round in Qatar, where same-sex relations are also illegal. Hamilton wore a Helmet with rainbow and colorful emblems To support the LGBTQ+ community and we will do it again here. “Sports and we have a duty to make sure that we try to raise awareness of some of the issues that we’ve seen, particularly human rights in these countries that we’re going to,” he said.
Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel will also be showing his support this weekend, wearing rainbow-embellished sneakers. He organized a karting session at the track on Thursday for female drivers and girls in solidarity with them, given that they were only granted the right to drive in 2018.
Williams team boss Just Capito will not attend the race after testing positive for Covid-19 before traveling to Saudi Arabia and will remain in the UK.