‘Lewis Hamilton can’t deny he’s a part of this’: Relative of SIX Grenfell fire victims blasts Lewis Hamilton as F1 ace says team’s deal with insulation firm Kingspan ‘is nothing to do with me’ – a year after he made ‘#justiceforgrenfell’ post
The families of those who died in Grenfell Tower have blasted Lewis Hamilton for not calling out Mercedes over a sponsorship deal with a firm linked to the tragedy.
Relatives of the victims slammed the F1 driver for trying to distance himself from the partnership with Kingspan rather than speaking up.
They accused him of taking ‘blood money’ in a ‘sickening and disgusting’ contract with the insulation business.
Last night Hamilton tried to detach himself from the fury, saying the deal ‘is really nothing to do with me’.
But he still drove with Kingspan emblazoned on the side of his car during his win at Saudi Arabia’s first-ever Grand Prix.
It came a year after the 36-year-old posed on a march with a placard saying he was doing it ‘for all the people in Grenfell Tower’.
Relatives blasted the F1 driver for trying to distance himself from the partnership with Kingspan rather than speaking up as he has done on other topics
They accused him of taking ‘blood money’ in a ‘sickening and disgusting’ contract with the insulation business. Pictured: The fire in 2017
Hamilton initially refused to answer questions on the matter at a press conference ahead of the race in Jeddah
One man, who who lost six relatives in the Grenfell Tower fire, blasted Hamilton for taking ‘blood money’.
Nabil Choucair, 47, said Mercedes’ sponsorship deal with building materials firm Kingspan was ‘sickening and disgusting’.
He said: ‘I find the whole situation with the sponsorship of F1 by Kingspan both sickening and disgusting.
‘Lewis Hamilton can’t deny that he’s a part of this. It’s his car, he’s driving it and he could ask for it to be removed.
‘He has the choice to say to the world ‘I support Kingspan’ or ‘I support Grenfell’. He should be as far away as possible from blood money because this is what it is.’
Emma O’Connor, 32, who escaped from the 20th floor of Grenfell, compared his vocal criticism of Saudi to his relative silence on Kingspan.
‘He’s saying that Saudi’s have no human rights and he’s fighting for them but what about our rights?’ she fumed.
‘He has Grenfell survivors and bereaved who are F1 fans so to see that logo must have been sickening. He should have input on withdrawing their sponsorship.’
Survivors’ group Grenfell United earlier described the arrangement as ‘truly shocking’ and demanded its withdrawal.
Nabil Choucair, 47, said Mercedes’ sponsorship deal with building materials firm Kingspan was ‘sickening and disgusting’
It came a year after the 36-year-old posed on a march with a placard saying he was doing it ‘for all the people in Grenfell Tower’
Meanwhile Grand Tour presenter Jeremy Clarkson slammed the ‘woke warrior’ over the row.
He wrote in his Sun column on Saturday: ‘Woke warrior Lewis Hamilton arrived in Saudi Arabia this week to drive a car that’s sponsored in part by Kingspan, the company whose cladding was on the Grenfell Tower. It’s OK.
‘When I heard, my shoulders sagged a bit as well.’
Tory MP Brendan Clarke-Smith added to MailOnline: ‘As much as I admire his driving, I feel Lewis Hamilton has made a rod for his own back with his constant virtue signalling on various issues, yet he then distances himself from something as important as this.
‘I would imagine the same will happen with footballers at the next World Cup.’
Last night Hamilton initially refused to answer questions on the matter at a press conference ahead of the race in Jeddah.
He said it was ‘not something that I feel I have to speak about publicly’. But when pushed he said: ‘It was news to me when I heard this week.
‘We know there has been a huge outcry and an amazing amount of support by people in the community.
‘It is really nothing to do with me and I know Toto (Wolff, the team principal) is sorting it.
‘Unfortunately my name is associated with it because it has been on my car, but whether that remains the same, we will see.’
Social media users also rounded on Hamilton, with one saying: ‘He fights for justice right up to the point he might lose out.’
Another wrote: ‘You’ll take Grenfell blood money though. Nice one, champ.’ And one more posted: ‘Yet you’re happy to sponsor the company responsible for the tragedy.’
The tragedy claimed 72 lives (pictured) on June 14, 2017
Kingspan’s complicity in the fire of June 2017 is the subject of a public inquiry but that did not stop the firm landing the deal, which is said to be worth up to £3million.
Mercedes boss Wolff wrote to Grenfell United to apologise for the ‘additional hurt’ the deal has caused.
Communities secretary Michael Gove said he would write to Mercedes to ask it to reconsider the deal, adding it was ‘deeply disappointing’ it had accepted it.
He added ‘the Grenfell community deserves better’ and they are ‘right to feel deeply hurt and aggrieved’ by the decision.
He wrote: ‘My Cabinet colleagues and I will keep this system under constant and close review to ensure that the advertising regime remains fit for purpose and reflects the public interest.
‘I am conscious that there are very real questions about whether Parliament would support a statutory regime that enabled a core participant in a public inquiry in to how 72 people lost their lives to advertise its products publicly to millions of families across the country.
‘The achievements of Mercedes and Sir Lewis Hamilton in recent years represent a British success story of which we are all proud.
‘I hope you will reconsider this commercial partnership which threatens to undermine all the good work the company and sport has done.’
Hamilton, 36, has used his profile to raise issues with the regime, notably wearing a rainbow helmet in support of the LGBT community as same-sex relationships are illegal in the country
Shadow levelling-up secretary Lisa Nandy said she hopes Hamilton is making his views ‘clearly known’ to those who made the decision about the Kingspan deal.
Ms Nandy said she supported Mr Gove in his criticism, but has written to him asking him to ‘take the same principled stance in relation to the decision by the Conservative Party to take millions of pounds in donations from property developers responsible for flats that have been covered in the same dangerous ACM cladding’ since the fire in 2017.
Asked if she thinks Hamilton should speak out about those who sponsor his team, Ms Nandy told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: ‘I think the key point is that it’s not his decision and I hope that he is making his views clearly known to the people who have made this decision.
‘Lewis Hamilton has been an ally of the Grenfell community. He’s spoken out about this issue before.
‘I suspect he will be doing that behind the scenes, but the key is to make sure that all of us across the political spectrum ramp up the pressure to ensure that this doesn’t go ahead.
‘It is deeply disrespectful to people who lost everything four years ago. They felt very invisible in the political system.
‘That was what allowed this to happen in the first place.
‘We’ve got to send a clear and unequivocal message that they are invisible no more, that people’s lives matter, and that we’ll stand with them while this inquiry is ongoing.’
Despite his begrudging comments on Kingspan, seven-time world champion Hamilton did say he did not ‘feel comfortable’ competing in Saudi Arabia.
The country has been accused of using the event to ‘sportswash’ its image in the face of condemnation over its human- rights record.
Hamilton raised issues with the regime, notably wearing a rainbow helmet in support of the LGBT community as same-sex relationships are illegal in the country.
He started yesterday’s race in pole position after Red Bull rival Max Verstappen crashed in qualifying meaning he started in third.
Hamilton was second in overall standings and his win means the season comes down to a winner-takes-all clash in Abu Dhabi next week.