Lewis Hamilton does not feel comfortable racing in Saudi Arabia

By Sports Desk December 02, 2021

Lewis Hamilton is not comfortable racing in Saudi Arabia due to the country's human rights record and says it is "not his choice" to be there. 

Saudi Arabia is hosting its first Formula One race this weekend in Jeddah as part of a reported 10-year deal. 

In the build-up to the race, a number of human rights groups have accused F1 of being complicit in 'sportswashing' for the regime. 

However, reigning world champion Hamilton is hoping the race weekend will at least help raise further awareness around the issue. 

"I feel that the sport and us are duty bound to help raise awareness for certain issues that we've seen, particularly human rights in these countries that we're going to," he said.  

"I can't pretend to be the most knowledgeable or have the deepest understanding of someone who has grown up in the community here that is heavily affected by certain rules. 

"Do I feel comfortable here? I wouldn't say I do. 

"But it's not my choice to be here – the sport has taken the choice to be here. Whether it's right or wrong, while we're here, I feel it's important that we do try to raise awareness." 

Mercedes driver Hamilton heads into the penultimate race of the season eight points behind championship leader Max Verstappen. 

Verstappen could win his maiden title on Sunday if results go his way, but Hamilton has won the last two races in Brazil and Qatar and feels in good shape. 

"I'm more relaxed than I've ever been," he said. "I've been around a long time. I remember how it was with my first championship, even my second and third... the sleepless nights. 

"Now I am a lot more sure about myself and have applied myself better than ever before. 

"I can't change the past – all I can do is prepare 100 per cent for what's ahead of me and I am sure I have." 

Related items

  • Alonso laments 'unacceptable' loss of points after Alpine woes continue in Singapore Alonso laments 'unacceptable' loss of points after Alpine woes continue in Singapore

    Fernando Alonso says he has lost "about 60" points due to mechanical issues across the Formula One season, describing Alpine's problems as "unacceptable" after retiring from the Singapore Grand Prix.

    Alpine suffered their first double retirement of the 2022 campaign on Sunday, as suspected power unit issues ended the races of Alonso and team-mate Esteban Ocon.

    Alonso was defending sixth place against the advances of Max Verstappen when the problem first struck, forcing him out of the race after 21 laps. Ocon, meanwhile, followed six laps later.

    The issue overshadowed a landmark day for Alonso, who made a record 351st grand prix start, and the Spaniard made his frustration known after the race.

    "Again eight or 10 points are gone and there were already about 50 points lost this year," Alonso said. "So there are already about 60, which is unacceptable.

    "I am very upset because there had been a good performance in this race on my part throughout the weekend.

    "Yes, it was the two [Alpine] cars, but one was behind and out of the points, and it was not as serious as in my case for the points.

    "This year, this changes everything. If you gave me 60 more points in the standings and reduced those of the rest – because they are points that the others would not have added – my championship would seem much better, even compared to Mercedes."

    Alonso has retired from four of his 17 races in 2022, including back-to-back outings at Monza and Singapore. 

    The two-time world champion, who is set to replace the retiring Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin next year, sits ninth in the drivers' championship standings, seven points behind team-mate Ocon.

  • Perez's Singapore victory confirmed despite five-second time penalty from FIA Perez's Singapore victory confirmed despite five-second time penalty from FIA

    Sergio Perez's Singapore Grand Prix victory was confirmed after an FIA investigation into an infringement involving safety cars only resulted in a five-second time penalty for the Mexican.

    Perez overtook Charles Leclerc on the first corner of Sunday's race at the wet Marina Bay Street Circuit, protecting his lead throughout to claim a second win of the season and fourth of his career.

    Numerous safety cars were deployed throughout the eventful race in slippery conditions, with an investigation opened by the stewards into a misdemeanour by Perez when racing under a yellow flag.

    Ferrari called for two five-second time penalties on Perez, who finished seven seconds ahead of Leclerc, for not keeping within 10 car lengths of the safety car.

    Both the Red Bull driver and Leclerc were called to the stewards' office for their version of events after the race, with Perez also investigated for pulling alongside the safety car to encourage it to speed up.

    Formula One's governing body, the FIA, reprimanded Perez for the first incident and gave him a five-second penalty for the second infringement, leaving the Red Bull racer two seconds ahead of Leclerc.

    "Although the track was wet in parts, we do not accept that the conditions were such as to make it impossible or dangerous for Perez to have maintained the required less than 10 car length gap," the stewards said. 

    "Nevertheless, we took into account the wet conditions and the difficulties highlighted by Perez as mitigatory circumstances for this incident and, accordingly, determine that a reprimand ought to be imposed.

    "As this was the second breach of Article 55.10 by Perez during the race and followed an express warning from the race director, we determined to impose a five-second time penalty on Perez."

    That leaves Perez trailing championship leader Max Verstappen by 106 points, with Leclerc in second as he sits 104 points behind the Dutchman.

  • Verstappen laments 'messy' Singapore struggles, Hamilton vows to 'live and learn' Verstappen laments 'messy' Singapore struggles, Hamilton vows to 'live and learn'

    Max Verstappen bemoaned a "messy" performance at the Singapore Grand Prix, where Lewis Hamilton vowed to "live and learn" to recover from another disappointing showing.

    Red Bull driver Verstappen had won five straight races and recorded 12 victories in 2022 to head into Sunday's race with a 116-point championship lead.

    But the Dutchman struggled on a soaked Marina Bay Street Circuit, finishing seventh as Charles Leclerc – who came in second behind Sergio Perez – cut Verstappen's advantage to 104 points.

    Perez also trails his Red Bull team-mate by 106 points, though Verstappen could still secure the world title at the next race in Japan.

    "It's not where we want to be," Verstappen told Sky Sports. "Yesterday, you put yourself in a spot like that and it can either work brilliantly and you can drive back to the front. Or you don't and it's very frustrating like we had [today].

    "Seventh is better than eighth but it's not what I'm here for, not with a car like that and what we showed in practice. It's just incredibly messy."

    Hamilton was another left frustrated as Formula One returned to Singapore for the first time in three years, slipping down to ninth after starting on the grid in third.

    The seven-time world champion was initially edged out by Carlos Sainz on the first corner before crashing into the barriers later in the race when attempting to overtake the Ferrari driver.

    "I think we started off with a pretty decent weekend and were just really, really unfortunate at the end," Hamilton added to Sky Sports.

    "It was difficult to overtake and that lock-up into Turn 7 – when those things happen your heart sinks a little bit.

    "But you get back up again and you try. It wasn't the greatest day, but I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

    "It all went out the window when I locked up, so my apologies to the team, but we live and learn, and I'll recover."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.