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F1 | Saudi Arabian GP | Lewis Hamilton on the title fight against Verstappen and raising awareness of human rights issues in Saudi Arabia

The Mercedes driver believes that it’s F1’s “duty” to raise awareness on the human rights issue in the country, which doesn’t make him feel “comfortable” about racing in Yeddah, but is also ready to give his 100% to secure his eight title, extremely “important “for him especially after this year’s tight, “different” fight.

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F1 | Saudi Arabian GP | Lewis Hamilton on the title fight against Verstappen and raising awareness of human rights issues in Saudi Arabia
Fuente imagen: Hasan Bratic Motorlat

Seven times World Champion Lewis Hamilton admitted that he "doesn't feel comfortable" racing in a country where human rights are still an issue. The Mercedes driver said in today's media session that he believes F1 should take an active part in advocating for minorities while in Jeddah.

The F1 management has also been accused by Human Rights Watch in their latest report of helping the government to clear up their image:

“The Saudi government is going all out to bury its egregious human rights abuses beneath public spectacles and sporting events. Unless they express concerns over Saudi Arabia’s serious abuses, Formula One and participating performers risk bolstering the Saudi government's well-funded efforts to whitewash its image despite a significant increase in repression over the last few years."

Hamilton, who will keep his special rainbow design in support of the LGBTQ+ community debuted in Qatar for the last two races of the season, supported the idea of F1 shedding a light on these issues, especially considering the slogan "We Race as One" broadcasted for the past two years.

"[F1 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."

"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."

The English driver, second in the drivers' standings, brought up also the issue of driving for women, as, even if the legislation was modified years ago to make it legal for them, "some of the women are still in prison from driving many, many years ago."

He added that the importance of this topic in such countries was a key factor in his decision of bringing back the rainbow helmet:

"For example at the last race [in Qatar] 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 and our sport needs to do more."

Hamilton also talked about the title bottle he's fighting against Verstappen, which would score him a record-breaking eight title, highlighting the importance such a win would hold for him:

"It would be for sure. One [reason] being that it is something that no one has ever done before. It has been against the toughest battle I think the sport has seen in a long long time and the most challenging. I think collectively, it would be. Plus, we are in a pandemic and all sorts of things we have been faced with."

He also mentioned the reasons why this year's championship battle was "different" than in his previous experience, as there are different teams involved after seasons of internal battles between the German team's drivers, and he's more confident in his abilities than while fighting for his first titles:

"It is different in one sense because we have got two incredibly close teams. It is different because we are, as a team, fighting for uncharted territory, no one has ever won eight titles in teams' or drivers' so that is fresh and new."

"On the other side, I am more related than I have ever been because I have been around a long time. It is not my first. I remember how I was in my first championship and even my second and third, the sleepless nights and all those sorts of things. Now I am very sure about myself and apply myself better than before."

"I know I can't change anything from the past but all I can do is prepare the best I can for what's up ahead of me and I 100 per cent know I have," Hamilton concluded.



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