PICTURED: Lewis Hamilton dons a new rainbow helmet at the Qatar Grand Prix, after speaking out about ‘one of the worst’ countries for humans rights and backing Sebastien Vettel’s Pride protest in Hungary
Lewis Hamilton sent a message at the Qatar Grand Prix as he showed off his new rainbow helmet – after calling for ‘scrutiny’ in the country having admitted it was ‘one of the worst’ countries for human rights.
The Mercedes driver will continue his quest for the world title against rival Max Verstappen in the middle east this weekend but has been keen to make a stand on equality in Qatar as it prepares to host its first Grand Prix.
Qatar has been heavily criticised for its policies and laws against women and members of the LGBTQ+ community, including allegations of worker exploitation ahead of the 2022 World Cup.
Lewis Hamilton showed off his new rainbow helmet ahead of the Qatar Grand Prix this Sunday
The British star has been critical of Qatar’s human rights record ahead of their first Grand Prix
And Hamilton decided to make a stand by wearing his multi-coloured helmet after arriving in the country, which reads ‘we stand together’ on the back.
He has often been a champion of diversity and has campaigned against racism and discrimination – using his platform to show his support before races.
This week the British star spoke openly about Qatar’s problems and said it was important that the sport raises awareness over human rights issues and scrutinise regimes receiving criticism.
‘We’re aware there are issues in these places that we’re going to,’ he said. ‘But of course [Qatar] seems to be deemed as one of the worst in this part of the world.
The British star has been a champion of diversity and equality – showing his support at races
‘I do think as sports go to these places, they are duty bound to raise awareness for these issues,’ said Hamilton in Thursday’s press conference on F1’s first day at the Losail circuit near Doha.
‘These places need scrutiny. It needs the media to speak about these things. Equal rights is a serious issue.
‘However, I am aware in this place they are trying to make steps and it can’t change overnight.
‘I just feel that if we are coming to these places, we need to be raising the profile of the situation.’
He had given his backing to fellow driver Sebastian Vettel in August after the Aston Martin star staged a protest for LGBTQ+ rights at the Hungarian Grand Prix, saying he was ‘proud’ of the German after he wore a shirt reading ‘Same Love’.
Hamilton wants Qatar to face scrutiny after admitting they have ‘one of the worst’ records for human rights
He had kneeled before the race to show his defiance against Hungary bringing in anti anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.
Vettel said at the time: ‘I wanted to send a message, and I was very proud to do it.
‘I remembered I’d seen in the news that the current government doesn’t have the most progressive views on certain things.
‘There was a lot of debate about the laws that prohibit access to all ages getting a wholesome education and leaving some parts out, which I think is completely wrong.
Hamilton paid tribute to Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel in August after he wore a shirt reading ‘same love’ in support of the LGBTQ+ community
‘So the idea was born that we have this moment before the race where we are able to put out certain messages, and I thought it was a good opportunity to send out a small sign.
Vettel was asked for his stance on Qatar ahead of this weekend’s race and admitted there was some places ‘with things to catch up on’.
‘I don’t think it’s necessarily a question for me, I think it’s a question for all of us,’ he said. ‘I guess we are all loving Formula 1 in one way or another. We go to many different places; some great places, some places maybe not so great, but it depends what you like.
‘Some places that are very liberal, others are not, it’s probably a fair reflection of the world in general. So naturally there are places with things to catch up on and others are not.’