Hamilton says F1 rules unclear after Brazil, to wear Pride helmet in Qatar, Saudi GP

Lewis Hamilton said Formula One’s racing rules were unclear after Red Bull’s championship leader Max Verstappen went unpunished for defensively forcing him off the track in Brazil last weekend.

The seven-times world champion said a lengthy drivers’ meeting with race director Michael Masi at the Qatar Grand Prix provided no clarification on overtaking and what would be seen as ‘hard and fair racing’ and what would be penalised.

“No. It’s not clear. Every driver I think, except for Max, was asking about it just for clarity. But it wasn’t very clear,” Hamilton told reporters.

“It’s still not clear what the limits of the track are. It’s clearly not the white line any more, when overtaking. So we just go for it.

“We just ask for consistency. So if it’s the same as the last race then that should be the same for all of us in those scenarios.”

Hamilton, who had to run completely off track at Interlagos as Verstappen defended against an overtaking move by braking late and also going wide, said there was no assurance on consistency.

Lewis Hamilton to start on pole at the Qatar Grand Prix

“It’s not clear. It could be different with different stewards, is what they said,” he added.

Verstappen, who leads Hamilton by 14 points, said the situation was ultimately “pretty clear” and felt there was no need to discuss details in the media.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff told Sky Sports television that the stewards taking no action against Verstappen’s aggressive defence in Sao Paulo could have repercussions.

Mercedes had tried to force a review of the stewards’ decision not to penalise Verstappen but were denied on grounds that new video evidence was not significant.

Hamilton sports rainbow helmet ahead of first Qatar Grand Prix

“In my opinion, what it says is you can just launch yourself into a corner and drag the other car out of line. And that obviously can lead to quite some dirtier driving going forward,” said Wolff.

“We donโ€™t want to have a messy situation tomorrow, in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, because that would be really bad.”


Hamilton to wear Progress Pride helmet in Saudi Arabia

Hamilton has said he will wear his rainbow-coloured Progress Pride helmet at next month’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as well as in Qatar this weekend to draw attention to LGBTQ+ intolerance.

The sport’s most successful driver explained his stance after taking pole position for Mercedes in Doha on Saturday. Saudi Arabia and then Abu Dhabi are the final two races of the season.

“I will be using the same helmet through probably the last two races after this, or at least next week also,” the title contender told reporters.

F1: Tensions boil in Qatar between Mercedes and Red Bull

“On the back it says ‘We Stand Togetherโ€™ and โ€˜Love is Loveโ€™ and itโ€™s important for me to represent that (LGBTQ+) community here as I know there are several situations which arenโ€™t perfect and need to be highlighted.

“But I hope that someone reaches out and I would love to know what is happening here and what theyโ€™re doing to help support that community more, the LGBTQ+ community. I wait to hear.”

Gay sex is a criminal offence in Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Nasser Al Khater, chief executive of the 2022 FIFA World Cup that Qatar is hosting, was asked about it at a media round table and said: “Nobody can stop anybody from taking a position publicly or privately if they wish.

“But it is something that we feel is not fair, and honestly incorrect.

“There’s really not any issue that anybody has to worry about in terms of persecution of any sort. Any sort,” he added in response to a question about LGBTQ+ fans coming to the country.

Hamilton: F1 โ€˜duty boundโ€™ to raise awareness of human rights

Hamilton told Sky Sports he had been thinking about the location of the last three races and trying to educate himself.

“They are big issues. And I’ve been trying to think what is it I can do? I’m only one person, and I think the sport and all the drivers together and athletes can do more.”

Hamilton, who has used his platform to campaign for diversity and a range of human rights issues, said one of his team members had told him it meant a huge amount.

“I hope that it highlights and sparks conversation, I hope that kids here and whoever is watching are asking what the flag is if they don’t know and why I am wearing it,” he added.

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