Hamilton slates FIA choice of Petrov as steward after controversial BLM/gay remarks
Lewis Hamilton has criticised the FIA's choice of Vitaly Petrov as a member of the stewards' panel for this weekend's Portuguese Grand Prix in the wake of highly controversial comments from the former Formula 1 driver.
Hamilton has been a staunch promoter of equality and diversity this season, particularly in the wake of witnessing racial prejudice around the world, notably pushing the 'Black Lives Matter' cause.
Petrov, who raced in F1 from 2010 to 2012 with Renault and Caterham, as well as in DTM and WEC, is to make his first appearance as a steward at Portimão.
Recently, however, Petrov was highly critical of Hamilton for wearing a t-shirt at the Tuscan GP in support of Breonna Taylor, who was killed by police in Kentucky earlier this year, and for his persistence in taking a knee.
"For me, this t-shirt, on top of calling for everyone to kneel, was too much," Petrov is reported to have told Russian news website Championat.
'It is a personal matter for every adult. You have the right to speak out on social media or give interviews, but I think the US government is well aware of these problems already.
'But to call on that in Formula 1 itself... I think half of the spectators didn't even know what the shirt was about until it was explained to them."
Petrov then controversially added: "And 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."
Insisting no person kneels in Russia except "before God and to propose to your future wife", he further stated: "In Russia. we have a different mentality, and we do not have the problems that Hamilton is talking about. There should be respect for everyone."
Asked as to the FIA's choice of Petrov given the remarks, Hamilton replied: "I've not seen all the quotes, so yeah, of course, that is a surprise to see they would be hiring someone that has those beliefs and is so vocal about things we are trying to fight against.
"You should take it up with them. There is nothing I can particularly do about it but we should definitely be including people here who are with the times, who are understanding of the times 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 is here. It's not like they don't have any other good options."
Valtteri Bottas supported his Mercedes team-mate as he said: "I've not heard any of those quotes, I don't know them in detail, so it's tough to say, but as Lewis said, we should all have the same mindset for the things we are pushing on."
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