Lewis Hamilton has slammed the FIA’s decision to use Vitaly Petrov as a steward at this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix.
Hamilton has been at the forefront of tackling anit-racism issues in society and within the sport and at the recent Tuscan GP he wore a T-shirt calling for the arrest of the officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor.
The FIA responded by banning unofficial clothing on the podium and declared that the top three drivers must keep their race suits done up to their necks.
And Petrov, who raced in 57 Grand Prix between 2010-12 voiced his dissatification at Hamilton’s actions.
He said: “For me, this T-shirt, on top of calling for everyone to kneel, was too much.
“But to call on that in Formula One itself, I think half of the spectators didn’t even know what the shirt was about until it was explained to them.
“Let’s say a driver admits to being gay. Will they come out with a rainbow flag and urge everyone to become gay as well?
“I think the FIA will no longer allow such behaviours.”
Petrov’s comments were put to Hamilton during Thursday’s press conference and the six-time world champion was scathing in his assessment and declared that the FIA should be hiring people more in tune with ongoing issues.
“I’ve not seen all the quotes, obviously you’ve just recited some of them,” Hamilton said.
“So yes, of course, that is I would say a surprise to see that they would be hiring someone that has those beliefs and is so vocal about things that we’re trying to fight against.
“So you should take it up with them really, it’s nothing I can particularly do anything about it.
“But we should definitely be including people here who are with the times, who are understanding of the times that we are living in and sensitive to the matters that are surrounding us.
“So I don’t really quite understand what their goal is or why particularly he’s here because it’s not that they don’t have any other good options.”
In response, the FIA said in a statement: “The FIA appoints driver stewards with the relevant Formula 1 experience and expertise to carry out this function at the highest level, and who have expressed an interest to the FIA in being a driver steward.
“The Federation does not discriminate in this process based upon views expressed outside of their function as an FIA Steward, provided that any such expression does not contravene the FIA’s regulations and Code of Ethics.”
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