Lewis Hamilton responds to Amnesty International's claims about F1 'whitewashing' Saudi Arabia's human rights problem

Lewis Hamilton talks in the Drivers Press Conference during previews ahead of the 2021 Saudi Arabia GP. (Photo by Hassan Ammar - Pool/Getty Images)
Lewis Hamilton talks in the Drivers Press Conference during previews ahead of the 2021 Saudi Arabia GP. (Photo by Hassan Ammar - Pool/Getty Images)

Lewis Hamilton believes F1 could do more to raise awareness about the human rights problems in Saudi Arabia. Speaking ahead of the 2021 Saudi Arabia GP, the seven-time world champion addressed Amnesty International’s concern about F1 ‘whitewashing’ several serious human rights issues in the country.

Speaking to the Guardian about how he felt about Amnesty International’s claims Lewis Hamilton said:

“Well I mean as I said at the last race that I felt that the sport, we are duty bound to make sure we help raise awareness about certain issues that we’ve seen, particularly human rights in these countries that we go into.”

Although F1 has its own "We Race As One" campaign raising awareness about diversity, Lewis Hamilton felt the laws in Saudi Arabia were extreme, particularly towards the LGBTQ+ community and women's rights.

The Briton was vocal about social issues in the region and agreed with Amnesty International’s claims. The international organization believed that F1 could either endorse the Saudi Arabian government’s PR stunts and image-washing or pressure the government over their laws, and drive them to change it.


Lewis Hamilton empathized with the LGBTQ+ community in Saudi Arabia

Empathizing with some of the difficulties faced by the LGBTQ+ community in Saudi Arabia, Lewis Hamilton gently protested and said:

“With the utmost respect for everyone that is here, I've been so far had a warm welcome from the people on the ground. I can’t pretend to ever to be the most knowledgeable or have the deepest of understanding of someone that has particularly grown up in the community (LGBTQ) here, that is heavily affected by certain rules and the regime.”

According to the Briton, only raising awareness was not enough in these countries and F1 needed to use its clout and position to drive serious change. Lewis Hamilton agreed with Amnesty International that F1 needed to make use of its unique position, especially with its own diversity campaign.

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Edited by Sijo Samuel Paul
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