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Hamilton 'mind blown' by Saudi regime after mass executions

Hamilton 'mind blown' by Saudi regime after mass executions

Hamilton 'mind blown' by Saudi regime after mass executions

Hamilton 'mind blown' by Saudi regime after mass executions
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale

Lewis Hamilton has exerted more pressure on Saudi Arabia's regime in the wake of a series of mass executions in the kingdom.

F1 has returned to Jeddah for a second race in the Middle Eastern country despite continued concerns over the region's human rights record.

On the sport's inaugural visit to the country, Hamilton said he "wouldn't say" he was comfortable being present and added: "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."

The seven-time champion then called the LGBTQ+ rights "terrifying".

But since the turn of the year, a reported figure of over 100 people have been executed in Saudi Arabia, including 81 on March 12 alone, with the overall total set to rise to 500 by the end of the year.

Asked if there were any reservations about racing in the country, Hamilton replied: "My position is still the same as I spoke on last year. There is not really a lot that I can say that is going to make any difference."

Addressing a harrowing letter intended for him before the race weekend, the Mercedes driver added; "It is obviously mindblowing to hear the stories.

"I have heard there is a letter that has been sent to me, for example, from a 14-year-old that is on death row. At 14, you don't know what the hell you are doing in life.

"We don't decide where we go [to race in F1]. [But] We are duty-bound to try and do what we can while we are here. It is not necessarily our responsibility but we try and do what we can.

"I think it is important we try to educate ourselves and with a little bit of difference, we can try to make sure we are doing something.

"But ultimately, it is the responsibility of those that are in power to really make the changes and we are not really seeing enough. We need to see more."

Hamilton "open" to discussions with Saudi authorities

Hamilton has established himself as a leading light in F1 for raising awareness over societal issues, alongside Sebastian Vettel, who will miss this weekend's race as he recovers from Covid-19.

On whether he would be willing to arrange a meeting with those in power in Saudi Arabia, Hamilton insisted: "Again, reflecting that it shouldn't be our responsibility to have to do that.

"But it is obviously a very, very complex situation. I am always open to having a discussion, to learning more and trying to understand exactly why the things that are happening are happening and why they are not changing.

"It is 2022, it is easy to make changes. But I am open to doing that. I don't know who I would have to speak to exactly but I would love to see that.

"I know that Boris [Johnson, UK prime minister] was over here recently. I heard that human rights were raised but what was said, what is being done, I have not heard about that."

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