Lewis Hamilton will wear an LGBTQ+ Progress Pride flag helmet at this weekend’s Qatar Grand Prix after he displayed it during practice yesterday.
Hamilton’s helmets typically have his motto ‘Still I Rise’ on the back, but this has been replaced with the phrase ‘We Stand Together.’
Hamilton’s helmet features additional colours to represent marginalised groups, and the flag was designed by Daniel Quasar
This weekend’s Grand Prix will be the first held in Qatar and it will see the latest instalment in Hamilton’s thrilling title battle with Max Verstappen.
Qatar has already agreed a 10-year deal to host a yearly Grand Prix that will commence in 2023, after the country hosts the FIFA World Cup next year. Qatar has strict anti-LGBTQ+ laws, with same-sex relationships being punished by imprisonment.
F1 was criticised for signing such a lucrative deal with the nation, as it contradicts its ‘We Race as One’ campaign.
Hamilton frequently speaks out against issues in the countries F1 visits, and he was vocal in his Friday press conference.
He stated: “We’re aware there are issues in these places that we’re going to.
“As sports go to these places, they are duty-bound to raise awareness for these issues. These places need scrutiny.
Equal rights is a serious issue.
Earlier on in the season, at the Hungarian Grand Prix, Hamilton vocalised his disgust at the nation’s LGBTQ+ laws, calling the government “cowardly and misguiding.”
Hamilton’s fellow world champion Sebastian Vettel wore an LGBTQ+ flag t-shirt that read ‘Same Love’ to the pre-race ceremonies in Hungary, and the German was subsequently summoned to the stewards and given a reprimand.
F1 race director Michael Masi stated that the ‘national anthem for a particular country should be respected with drivers all wearing their race suits.’
This decision was met with outrage by fans on social media.
Richard Morris, the co-founder of Racing Pride, told the PA news agency that Hamilton’s decision to run the helmet throughout the weekend ‘fills me with hope.’
Morris added that ‘there’s a lot more work to be done in the sport, but we are starting to move in the right direction.’