Lewis Hamilton admits he feels ‘uncomfortable’ racing in Saudi Arabia this weekend amid human rights concerns after 97 people were executed this month… as the Mercedes star calls for authorities to make changes
- Lewis Hamilton has revealed concerns over human rights issues in Saudi Arabia
- The country has come under fire after 97 people were executed this month
- The Mercedes star said he was ‘open to discussions’ with Saudi authorities
- He said he felt ‘uncomfortable’ in the country and called for F1 to ‘educate itself’
Lewis Hamilton has reiterated his stance that he feels uncomfortable racing in Saudi Arabia.
Formula One is back in Jeddah this weekend for the second round of the new campaign following the country’s debut appearance in December.
Speaking ahead of last year’s race, seven-time world champion Hamilton said: ‘Do I feel comfortable here? I wouldn’t say I do.’
On Friday, human rights’ group, Reprieve, said a further 16 people have been killed since the mass execution of 81 men on March 12.
The United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights, claimed more than half of the 81 were killed for taking part in pro-democracy protests.
‘My position is still the same as last year’, said Hamilton, 37. ‘It is obviously mind-blowing to hear the stories.
Lewis Hamilton has admitted he feels ‘uncomfortable’ racing in Saudi Arabia ahead of the Grand Prix this weekend
There have been concerns over staging the race in the country, which executed 97 people this month alone
‘I have heard there is a letter that has been sent to me from a 14-year-old who is on death row here. At 14, you don’t know what the hell you are doing in life.
‘We don’t decide where we go to race in Formula One, but while it is not necessarily our responsibility, we are duty-bound to try and do what we can.
‘It is important we try to educate ourselves, and with a little bit of difference, we can try to make sure we are doing something.
‘But ultimately, it is the responsibility of those who are in power to really make the changes and we are not really seeing enough. We need to see more.’
Hamilton said he was left ‘mind blown’ by stories from Saudi Arabia and revealed he was sent a letter from a 14-year-old boy on death row
Seven-time world champion Hamilton has become the grid’s leading voice in tackling awareness on major issues facing society.
Asked here if he was willing to sit down with the Saudi authorities, he added: ‘It shouldn’t be our responsibility to have to do that. But it is obviously a very complex situation.
‘I am always open to having a discussion, to learning more and trying to understand exactly why things are happening and why they are not changing. It is 2022, and it is easy to make changes.’
F1 has agreed a 15-year deal to race in Saudi Arabia, with the venue set to move from Jeddah to a purpose-built venue in Qiddiya, 25 miles outside of capital Riyadh, in the coming seasons.
He said he would be happy to have a conversation with Saudi authorities to bring about change. Pictured: Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali told Sky Sports: ‘When we hear this kind of news [about the executions], it is quite alarming.
‘But I’m a true believer in the fact that sport has to make sure that human rights is at the centre of our agenda, together with the country where we are going.
‘If I take a step back, last year we saw a lot of women, and a lot of young people attending the race live. That is the right direction to take.
‘The fact that we’re going to be in Saudi Arabia, provides the intensity of the spotlight around a subject that maybe without us would have a different place in the news.’
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