Hamilton races with controversial 'rainbow helmet' in Qatar, wins praisetext_fields
Seven-time Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton has chosen to race in Qatar with a helmet depicting the modern day Pride flag which symbolises minorities like gay, lesbian, transgender and People of Colour (POC) in a move which has raised eyebrows as homosexuality is currently criminalised in Qatar. The Mercedes team driver had shared a picture of the helmet to his social media pages with the caption: "We race as one".
On Thursday, Hamilton openly criticised the Qatar government as "one of the worst" when it came to human right abuses and said that as a sportsman with much visibility, he and others were "duty bound to raise awareness for these issues."
"If we are coming to these places, we need to be raising the profile of the situation. One person can only make a certain amount of small difference but collectively we can have a bigger impact. Do I wish that more sportsmen and women spoke out on these issues? Yes...it's down to whether you decide to educate yourself and hold the sport more accountable and make sure the sport is actually doing something when they go to those places," Hamilton was quoted as saying by the Guardian.
"It is an incredible act of allyship from Lewis to show solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community, in the context of Formula One visiting a region in which LGBTQ+ people face discrimination and challenges to their human rights," said Richard Morris, a British racing driver and co-founder of Racing Pride, to PA news agency.
Four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel had also received criticism for his decision to wear a Pride shirt at the Hungarian GP this year after Hungary passed a major anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. Hamilton had come out in support of the move and vowed to join him in a similar endeavour.
The Formula One Qatar GP will be taking place at Losail International Circuit near Diha tomorrow at 6 PM local time. Red Bull's Max Verstappen leads the World Driver's Championship with Lewis Hamilton trailing 14 points behind after a thrilling podium finish in Brazil.