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Uncomfortable Hamilton calls for F1 action over "terrifying" Saudi LGBTQ+ laws

Uncomfortable Hamilton calls for F1 action over "terrifying" Saudi LGBTQ+ laws

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Uncomfortable Hamilton calls for F1 action over "terrifying" Saudi LGBTQ+ laws

Uncomfortable Hamilton calls for F1 action over "terrifying" Saudi LGBTQ+ laws

An 'uncomfortable' Lewis Hamilton has called on F1 to do more to raise awareness of "pretty terrifying" LGBTQ+ persecution in Saudi Arabia.

F1 is staging its inaugural event in the Kingdom at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit with the race likely to play a significant role in deciding the destination of the world championship.

Concerns had been raised prior to the sport's visit about the ethical implications of racing in Saudi Arabia and creating ties with a country marked around the world for human rights failures, including towards women and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

"As I said at the last race [in Qatar], I felt the sport and we [as drivers] are duty-bound to make sure we try to raise awareness for certain issues that we see and particularly human rights in the countries we are going to," said Hamilton.

"With the utmost respect for everyone here, I have so far had a warm welcome from people on the ground.

"I can't pretend to ever be the most knowledgable or have the deepest understanding of someone who has grown up in the community here, that is heavily affected by certain rules and regime.

"Do I feel comfortable here? I wouldn't say I do but it is not my choice to be here.

"The sport has taken the choice to be here and whether it is right or wrong, I think whilst we are here, again, I feel like it is important we do try to raise awareness."

Hamilton wore a rainbow-liveried helmet in Qatar to show support of human rights issues in the country.

Asked if a similar gesture would be performed this weekend, he replied: "In the last race, we saw the helmet I wore, I will wear that again here and in the next race because that is an issue and a law... if anyone wants to take the time to go and read what the law is for the LGBTQ+ community, it is pretty terrifying.

"There are changes that need to be made and then those changes, for example, women's rights and being able to drive in 2018, it is how they are policed. Are they really in effect?

"Some of the women are still in prison for driving many, many years ago so there is a lot of change that needs to happen and our sport needs to do more."

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