Lewis Hamilton donned a defiant Pride helmet as he drove to victory in the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. The Mercedes crossed the finish line in first place despite the race stopping twice and after colliding with his Redbull rival, Max Verstappen.
The British driver has been a strong and open ally to the queer community for some time, and his latest gesture aimed to spark the conversation around LGBTQ+ rights in homophobic countries.
In the lead-up to Sunday’s race in Jeddah, Hamilton spoke to Sky Sports, condemning the countries’ “terrifying” LGBTQ+ laws.
“I believe everyone should have equal rights, freedom of speech, freedom of movement,” he stated.
“There’s prison time, death penalty and restrictions from people for being themselves, and I don’t believe in that.”
He continued by saying: “We don’t choose where we’re going, others have chosen for us to be here, so we have to apply the pressure on them to make sure that they are doing right by the people in those places, sparking conversations, creating that uncomfortable discussion that is needed in these places.”
“Do I feel comfortable here? I wouldn’t say that I do. But it’s not my choice to be here. The sport has taken the choice to be here.”
Unbelievably bonkers Grand Prix. Outstanding performance and victory from @LewisHamilton despite everything being thrown at him. Great to see him wearing his rainbow helmet. The ? pic.twitter.com/iusgQfrg8I
— Gary Lineker ? (@GaryLineker) December 5, 2021
This is the second Grand Prix that Lewis Hamilton has worn his Pride helmet, and the driver confirmed that he intends to wear it throughout the competition as it travels through the Middle East. The Formula 1 series has faced severe criticism for choosing to host the event in these countries, where human rights issues are prominent.
The helmet, which is designed by British intersex artist, Valentine Vecchietti, features the LGBT+ Progress flag, and is decorated with the words, “We Stand Together”, and “Love Is Love”.
First look at LH’s new lid. ?? pic.twitter.com/kpS2YwkKyJ
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) November 19, 2021
The record-breaking driver has received praise for both his incredible win, and for his display of allyship. Now tied on points with Max Verstappen, the overall Formula 1 championship will be decided on Sunday, December 12 in the Abu Dhabi finale.
F1 superstar @LewisHamilton, the greatest Formula 1 driver of all time, wearing pride colors on his helmet as he won the Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia, a country with a execrable human and gay rights record, is 100% the heartening image I needed today ✊??️??️⚧️?? pic.twitter.com/JO1XQEr8b8
— Aisha Tyler (@aishatyler) December 6, 2021
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