Lewis Hamilton commits to Mercedes until 2025
Lewis Hamilton is technically running the risk of FIA punishment by wearing a rainbow helmet during this weekend’s Qatar Grand Prix. The seven-time world champion has previously used his global platform to raise awareness for the LGBTQ+ community, which is set to continue this weekend.
During Friday night’s qualifying session, Hamilton wore a neon yellow helmet with rainbow colours painted down the middle. Last time F1 visited the Losail International Circuit two years ago, the Mercedes driver also made a statement against the oppressive laws against the LGBTQ+ community in Qatar.
“It’s always good and well raising awareness for things, but it’s more about the work that is done in the background and the conversations you continue to have,” Hamilton said about his statement in Qatar two years ago.
“It’s such a big machine to shift. It is a whole country that is very young. It has taken the west a long, long time to get to where they are. All we can do is try to be positive when we come to these places and take the opportunity. That’s why I continue to wear the flag here.
“In 2021 it was nerve-wracking because I didn’t know how the country would react. But it was amazing when I do meet people who are incredibly grateful for utilising the platform for something like that so they feel included. As a sport we have to continue to work on our inclusivity. Diversity continues to be an issue.”
F1’s governing body the FIA introduced protest rules this season which initially outlawed all political statements. After receiving a backlash from drivers, the FIA then backtracked and said that the rules would only apply during on-track action – allowing competitors to make comments in interviews.
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The Mercedes star has already breached this rule during the Bahrain and Miami Grand Prix weekends by wearing a rainbow helmet in protest against the LGBTQ+ discrimination. Hamilton’s rainbow helmet was reportedly welcomed by FIA officials and F1 chief Stefano Domenicali in Bahrain. Previously, Domenicali put pressure on the FIA to ease concerns as he denied the sport would gag anyone.
At the Bahrain event in March, Motosport reported that the FIA would only investigate Hamilton’s rainbow helmet if another stakeholder raised an issue with it. The FIA also has its own diversity programme, so while Hamilton is technically breaking the rules he is unlikely to be punished.
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