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Lewis Hamilton finds unlikely ally in Red Bull chief over political ban fiasco

F1 Grand Prix of USA
(L-R) Lewis Hamilton, race winner Max Verstappen, Dr. Helmut Marko and Charles Leclerc celebrate on the podium following the 2022 Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Lewis Hamilton has found an unlikely ally in Red Bull Racing chief scout Helmut Marko over the sport's political ban fiasco. The sport's governing body recently ruled that drivers will be restricted on race weekends from speaking their minds about political issues as the FIA hopes to protect its image.

Red Bull and Mercedes seldom see eye-to-eye about anything the sport has to offer. On this rare occasion, however, Red Bull's chief scout Helmut Marko has sided with seven-time world champion Hamilton over the belief that drivers must be allowed to express their political opinions whenever they choose to.

Marko, like the Briton, believes that silencing drivers is 'wrong' and immoral under a democratic system of power.

Lewis Hamilton has been one of the most vocal drivers on the grid regarding political and social issues around the world - especially regarding Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ+ rights. The Mercedes driver has been instrumental in encouraging people of color in motorsports and is known to speak his mind.

"That is clearly wrong. They are responsible citizens who are in the global public eye and who know how and what they have to say. In general we are in a democratic society and everyone can express their opinion." - Helmut Marko on FIA's free speech suppression πŸ€―πŸ‘ #F1 #FIA https://t.co/liFixdwtzX

Helmut Marko told RTL:

"That is clearly wrong. They are responsible citizens who are in the global public eye and who know how and what they have to say. In general we are in a democratic society and everyone can express their opinion."

Lewis Hamilton praised by former Red Bull driver David Coulthard

Former Red Bull driver David Coulthard praised Lewis Hamilton for his mature behavior after the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP. The Briton was denied a record-breaking eighth title win by Max Verstappen on the final lap of the race at Yas Marina.

Hamilton was en route to breaking Michael Schumacher's title record in 2021 when a controversial late safety car allowed Verstappen to take his first title in the sport. While the conditions under which the Dutchman won the title were controversial, former F1 driver Coulthard lauded Hamilton's maturity in the face of adversity.

The Scotsman, however, suspected that a younger Lewis Hamilton might have handled the situation differently and claimed that the Briton's maturity was probably a result of his vast experience in the sport.

1999: @LewisHamilton (14) and David Coulthard (28) do joint interview about Lewis' promising prospects. 21 years later in 2020: DC informs Lewis that after his 7th F1 World Championship title, Silverstone are renaming the pit-straight after him.#F1 @therealdcf1 https://t.co/ALTA1y8plQ

Speaking at a Red Bull event in Dublin, Coulthard said:

β€œThe way Lewis handled it was fantastic. Maybe when he was younger, it would have been more difficult to do that. But he’s in his late 30s, he’s done a few laps, and I think with age comes maturity."
"The benefit of youth is you don’t know, so you’re not scared of anything. As you get older, you obviously start to understand consequences and things like that. But that maturity I think enables you to deal with different situations.”

It will be interesting to see if the relationship between Hamilton and Red Bull improves over the coming years. However, with Mercedes touted to be one of the front runners in the upcoming season, any kind of cordial relationship between the two seems unlikely.

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Edited by Anirudh
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