The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is back on the Formula 1 calendar in 2018, with Lewis Hamilton refusing to compete unless the Kingdom implements major reforms.
Lewis Hamilton has said that it was not his choice to race at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton has had a great start to the season and is currently leading the championship.
Radio 5 Live and the Sport website are broadcasting live coverage of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Because of the country’s human rights record, Lewis Hamilton says he will not be racing in Saudi Arabia this weekend.
Saudi Arabia is holding the first race of a long-term deal on a new street circuit in the seaside city of Jeddah.
“Do I feel at ease here?” Hamilton asked. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I do. However, I did not choose to be here. The sport has made a conscious decision to be here.
“And whether it’s good or bad, it’s critical that we strive to raise awareness while we’re here.”
Human rights organizations have criticized F1’s decision to race in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia’s record is “very disturbing,” according to Amnesty International, and the marathon is being used to “sports-wash” the country’s image.
Hamilton said he’ll be wearing the rainbow flag-painted helmet he wore at the last race in Qatar to show support for LGBTQ+ rights.
He called the situation for LGBTQ+ persons in Saudi Arabia “quite scary,” where homosexuality is illegal and punished by whipping and jail.
And, in response to the decision in 2018 to lift the prohibition on women driving, he said: “There are certain adjustments that must be done. For example, since 2018, women have had the right to drive. It has to do with how they are supervised. Is it true that they are [authorized] in practice? Why are there still women in jail for crimes they committed many years ago? There has to be a lot of change, and I believe our sport needs to do more.”
Sebastian Vettel, a four-time champion who has voiced awareness about human rights concerns this season, organized a karting event for women in Jeddah on Thursday.
The driver of an Aston Martin said: “I was considering my options. In general, we place a lot of emphasis on negative instances when it comes to specific nations’ failures in terms of human rights and other issues.”
Vettel claimed he was “trying to pass on some of my life experiences and on track to do something together to improve their confidence” and that the ladies who attended the event had “motivated” him.
“Of course, if we look from a western-European lens, there are a lot of things that need be fixed and addressed,” he said. However, certain things are changing, and for some individuals, this makes a significant difference.
“It’s obvious that certain things aren’t going as they should, but that’s just our opinion. It’s also likely that things take time and that progress is made.”
With back-to-back victories in Brazil and Qatar, Hamilton has closed the gap on Verstappen’s championship lead.
Picture of the championship
Hamilton is eight points behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen heading into the last two races of the season.
If things go his way, the Dutchman may seal the championship this weekend.
Hamilton, on the other hand, indicated he was in fine form for the difficulties of Jeddah and the last race a week later in Abu Dhabi.
“I’m more calm than I’ve ever been,” he remarked. I’ve been around for quite some time. I recall the restless nights from my first title, as well as my second and third.
“Now I am much more confident in myself and have put in more effort than ever before. I can’t undo the past; all I can do is prepare 100 percent for what is ahead, and I am confident in my ability to do so “”I’ve done it.”
Hamilton has won the previous two races in Brazil and Qatar, cutting Verstappen’s lead to 19 points after the Dutchman won the Mexican Grand Prix last month.
Hamilton’s Mercedes team believes he has reached a new level since then, which enabled him deliver one of his career-defining performances in the Brazilian Grand Prix, when he won despite starting from the back of the grid in the sprint qualifying session.
“I don’t feel I’ve progressed to the next level,” Hamilton stated. Perhaps I was able to tap into something different in Brazil. I’m not sure whether I’ve ever been there before.
“I’ve certainly done so throughout my career, but I like to believe I’ve been doing so all year.”
He said that the effort done by the whole Mercedes team was the key to their recent results: “How to get more from the team as a whole, and from each person on the squad. I’d like to believe that we’ve all [ascended to another level], not just me. And that’s exactly what was required.”
Verstappen said that his strategy will not alter.
“Like I’ve been doing all season,” he said. “Nothing has changed. It’s a brand-new song. We must understand the track, and I will concentrate only on the weekend in order to be as competitive as possible.
“We’re all fired up. A tune like this opens up fresh and unique possibilities. It’ll hopefully be an interesting weekend, and I’m hoping we’ll be competitive, but it’s still too early to tell. It’s a really fast circuit in the simulator, so I’m looking forward to experiencing it in person.”
Verstappen said that regardless of whether he wins or loses, Red Bull would have had a successful season in reducing Mercedes’ significant performance lead from last year.
“It’s been an incredible year for us,” Verstappen remarked. “It’s been more pleasurable since we’ve had some excellent moments.” I had a really dull year last year. I was almost always in third place. It’s not how you want to race, but it does happen sometimes when one team is really dominating.
“This year, we really turned it around. We upgraded the vehicle, and finishing the season in it is a huge accomplishment for us.
“In the remaining two races, I’ll aim to keep enjoying myself. It makes no difference where we end up. As a squad, we’ve had a really successful season.”
Williams has a Covid positive.
Jost Capito, the Williams team leader and CEO, will miss the event after testing positive for Covid-19 while still in the UK.
The team is wearing stickers on its vehicles in honor of its founder, Sir Frank Williams, who died on Sunday at the age of 79.
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