Lewis Hamilton continues to take a stand on human rights issues and condemned the “creepy“LGBTQ + laws ahead of Sunday’s Grand Prix.
“Do I feel comfortable here? I wouldn’t say I do,” the 36-year-old Mercedes driver told reporters on Thursday, via CNN. “But that was not my choice. Our sport has chosen to be here and whether it’s fair or not, I think while we’re here it’s always important to do some outreach work.”
Like the Qatar Grand Prix, Hamilton will once again wear a helmet with the Pride Progress flag with the words âWe Stand Togetherâ during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
âA lot of changes need to happen and our sport needs to do more,â said Hamilton.
This penultimate race marks the first in Saudi Arabia for Formula 1, to be held in Jeddah, a port city on the Red Sea. The country has been widely criticized for its human rights record, and by The Guardian, several groups wrote to the league, criticizing their decision to participate.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) wrote to Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, Executive Chairman Chase Carey and International Automobile Federation (FIA) President Jean Todt on November 29 to request a meeting regarding human rights policies. They mentioned in the letter how “dozens of women’s rights activists and other peaceful activists are jailed, tried or silenced and banned from traveling for their peaceful activism in Saudi Arabia”, noting that the activists have been jailed after campaigning for the right of women to drive.
“Formula 1 is in a unique position to allow or endorse this human rights image wash or it can pressure the Saudi government over its human rights record,” the letter read. “Your flagship Grand Prix is ââan opportunity to strengthen your human rights commitments and defend victims of Saudi abuse.”
Hamilton is not the only Formula 1 driver to take a stand on the country’s human rights crisis. Sebastian Vettel hosted a women-only kart event, inviting local drivers so he could hear first-hand concerns about gender equality.
âThere are a lot of questions that have been asked and I have asked myself, so I was thinking about what I can do,â said the Aston Martin driver, by Motorsport.com. âThere has been so much attention on the negative examples in terms of the shortcomings of some countries when it comes to maybe human rights and other things, so I really tried to think about the good points.
“I set up my own karting event today under the hashtag #raceforwomen, and I think a group of seven or eight girls and women were on the trail. We had a great event just for them and I was trying to pass some of my experiences in life and on the track, to do something together to build their confidence. “
Saudi Arabia ended the ban on women driving in 2018, and Vettel said he learned a lot from speaking with the drivers, adding: by ESPN, âIt is true that if we look through a Western or European lens, there is still a lot that should be improved and need to be addressed. But it is also true that some things change and for these people it makes a huge difference.
âAt the end of the day, it’s very difficult for us to come to a country where we only spend a few days and we try to be a perfect judge, but not knowing exactly the context and the people inside out.â
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