Lewis Hamilton says it wasn’t his choice to race in Saudi Arabia, but he feels while he’s there “it is important to raise awareness” on human rights issues.
Formula 1 has arrived in Saudi Arabia for the first time ever, and this caused many human rights groups to blast the sport for racing in a country with a bad human rights track record.
At the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Thursday press conference Lewis Hamilton said Formula 1 is “duty bound to help raise awareness for certain issues that see with human rights in these countries we are going to”.
“I can’t pretend to be the most knowledgeable and have the deepest of understanding of someone that has grown up in the community here that is heavily affected by certain rules and the regime,” Hamilton continued.
“Do I feel comfortable here? I wouldn’t say I do, but it’s not my choice to be here.
“The sport has taken the choice to be here and whether it’s right or wrong, I think whilst we are here, again, I feel it is important to raise awareness.”
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One of the groups whose rights have been seriously trampled on in Saudi Arabia is the LGBTQ+ community.
“For example at the last race you saw the helmet that I wore, I will wear that again here and in the next race because that is an issue. There is changes that needs to be made.”
Lewis also mentioned the Saudi law that didn’t allow women to drive. The law was abolished in 2018, but “some of the women are 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,” concluded the seven-time champion.