Lewis Hamilton is willing to risk the Arab world’s wrath

Lewis Hamilton has been unafraid to speak up for human rights and other issues, regardless of criticism or possible punishment.

As a passionate defender of human rights and campaigner on a number of social issues, Lewis Hamilton has been willing to take risks to raise awareness in his role as a Formula 1 driver.

Ahead of the 2021 Qatar Grand Prix, Hamilton has explained that he was prepared to be arrested for wearing his trademark rainbow helmet, showing support for LGBT+ rights in a country where homosexuality is illegal.

“For me it’s mind-blowing we live in a time where still there are so many countries around the world, particularly a lot of human rights issue within the Middle East, women’s rights, LGBT rights,” Hamilton said.

“There are laws there that restrict people from being their true selves. I’ve always been a risk-taker, like ‘I am going to do this whether or not they’re going to throw me in jail. 

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“I don’t care what they’re going to do. I’m going to stand for something that I believe in, even if it kills me.”

Hamilton led the Formula 1 grid in taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement during the 2020 season, wearing a BLM t-shirt alongside fellow driver Sebastian Vettel. 

“I remember coming to the first race wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt and I remember Seb standing by me and taking the knee with me and then after that just seeing him grow in terms of the confidence he had to come out of his shell and fight for what he believed in. 

“We basically stood arm-in-arm against lots of different causes when people said politics don’t belong in sport.

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“It’s crazy to think that we still today suffer from some hate crimes, from homophobia, from racism and this was a really tough season because I’ve gone through this sport as the only person of colour for my whole career and in life.

“Well human rights is not politics, it’s human rights. Everyone should be treated equally, everyone has a right to be treated equal and damn it, we have this huge platform and it should be used for good. 

“It should be used for inspiring people, encouraging people and sending a positive message particularly when there’s so much negativity out there. So I was really, really grateful for Seb being with me.”