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F1 Saudi Arabia Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton outfit, human rights backlash

Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton has sent a scathing message with a daring fashion gamble at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton says he is not comfortable being in Saudi Arabia for the country’s first ever Formula 1 race due to their poor human rights record.

Once again, the sport’s reigning champion was the one who spoke out after making a poignant statement on his arrival at the paddock in Jeddah.

His vest featured a design showing multiple hands which, according to designer 3.PARADIS, is a “symbolic reference of unity and freedom”, while the doves on his black trousers are also a nod to freedom.

The seven-time world champion is locked in a tense fight with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen as F1 remains in the Middle East for the second of three races, The Sun reports.

At the Qatar GP, Hamilton said the country had ‘one of the worst’ reputations and said it needed “scrutiny”.

He also wore a distinctive helmet with the Pride Flag in support of the LGBT community, who have extremely limited rights in some Middle Eastern countries.

He said: “I feel the sport, and we are duty-bound, to ensure we try and raise awareness for certain issues, especially human rights in the countries we are going to.

“With the utmost respect for everyone that is here, I have had a warm respect from everyone on the ground.

“I can’t pretend to ever be the most knowledgeable or [have the] deepest understanding of anyone who has grown up in the community here that is heavily affected by so many rules and regimes.

“Do I feel comfortable here? I wouldn’t say I do, but it is not my choice to be here. The sport has taken the choice to be here and whether it is right or wrong, I think while we are here it is important we do try and raise awareness.

“For example, in the last race you saw the helmet that I wore and I will wear that again here and in the next race because that is an issue and is a law.

“If anyone wants to take the time to read what the law is for the LGBT+ community, it is pretty terrifying and there are changes that need to be made, for example women’s rights and being able to drive in 2018 — it is how they are policed.

“Are they really in effect? Why are some of the women still in prison from driving many, many years ago? There is a lot of change that needs to happen and our sport needs to do more.”

Hamilton’s comments should be applauded as he again is the flag-bearer on issues that the sport has promised to address.

The Brit has called on fellow drivers to support his stance and countryman Lando Norris says he will continue to support Hamilton’s stance.

He added: “Lewis is a good guy to have, not leading us, but being the prime guy talking about these kind of things.

“It’s obvious that certain things he’s experienced in the past also help him be able to talk about it. I guess I’m fortunate that I’ve not had these kind of things to be said about me.

“I’m not in such an easy position just to go out and say whatever I want like he can – the problems here and in some of the countries.”

— This story originally appeared on thesun.co.uk and has been republished with permission



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