After the FIA chose Vitaly Pertov as an F1 driver steward for the Portuguese Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton expressed “surprise” at the appointment due to his recent comments.
Recently Russian driver Vitaly Petrov stirred controversy with his comments regarding the anti-racism ‘taking the knee’ gesture performed ahead of each Formula 1 Grand Prix, a gesture that is heavily championed by Lewis Hamilton.
“Honestly, I don’t understand the kneeling ceremony,” Petrov told Russian website Championat.com.
“According to our traditions, people kneel only on two occasions – in a temple, before God, and when you propose to your future wife.
“With this gesture, they are trying to draw attention to the fight against racism. Russia has a different mentality, and we don’t have such a problem that Hamilton talks about.
“There should be respect for every person, but I think that then it is necessary to think over everything more globally, to create some kind of organisation for funding.”
Petrov even went a step further by questioning Hamilton wearing the “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor” T-shirt after the Tuscan Grand Prix. In his comments he applied some very ‘peculiar’ (to put it mildly) reasoning.
“I think half of the audience did not understand at all what this shirt was about until it was explained,” Petrovc continued.
“And what if one of the drivers confesses to being gay and will go out with a rainbow flag and urge everyone to become gay?
“There can be a lot of examples,” concluded Petrov.
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After Petrov was appointed to serve as a driver steward for the Portuguese Grand Prix, Hamilton was asked if he finds the FIA’s choice surprising.
“I would say it’s a surprise to see they would be hiring someone that has those beliefs, and is so vocal about things that we’re trying to fight against,” the Briton said.
“So you should take it up with them really, there’s nothing I can particularly do about it.
“But we should definitely be including people here who are with the times, who are understanding of the times that we are living in, and sensitive to the matters that are surrounding us.
“I don’t really understand what their goal is or why particularly he’s here. It’s not like they don’t have any other good options.”
Following Hamilton’s comments, the FIA came out with a response.
“The FIA appoints driver stewards with the relevant Formula 1 experience and expertise to carry out this function at the highest level, and who have expressed an interest to the FIA in being a driver steward,” said an FIA spokesperson.
“The Federation does not discriminate in this process based upon views expressed outside of their function as an FIA steward, provided that any such expression does not contravene the FIA’s regulations and Code of Ethics.”