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Hamilton 'couldn't wait to leave' Saudi Arabia after terror scare

Hamilton 'couldn't wait to leave' Saudi Arabia after terror scare

F1 News

Hamilton 'couldn't wait to leave' Saudi Arabia after terror scare

Hamilton 'couldn't wait to leave' Saudi Arabia after terror scare
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale

Lewis Hamilton conceded he was glad the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend finished with "everyone safe" following the terror scare in Jeddah on Friday.

F1's place in the Kingdom had already come into question, including from Hamilton himself, upon the sport's inaugural visit in December given a history of human rights abuses and the country's stance on LGBTQ+ laws.

The pressure was exerted further with over 100 people killed during mass executions since the turn of the year, with 81 killed on March 12 alone.

Seven-time champion Hamilton revealed to receiving a harrowing letter from a 14-year-old on death row ahead of the weekend action getting underway.

Moral concerns turned to safety concerns when a Yemeni Houthi-claimed attack hit a nearby Aramco oil depot in Jeddah, ensuring the backdrop for free practice was filled with smoke and flames.

The weekend continued, however, following lengthy talks between drivers, team principals, F1, the FIA, race promoters and Saudi authorities.

After completing the race, Hamilton said: “I’m so happy the weekend is done and I’m happy that everyone is safe."

Speaking shortly after the race concluded, Hamilton added: "I'm just looking forward to getting out."

Then asked whether he had reservations about returning next year, he replied: “I just want to go home.”

Hamilton 'gutted' with performance

Hamilton clinched a shock podium in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix as Red Bull suffered a double retirement but any comfort in Mercedes' struggles from that result was eradicated in Jeddah.

The Briton failed to advance from Q1 in qualifying before an untimely virtual safety car conspired against him on the way to finishing 10th.

"Balance-wise, the car felt good, but just not fast enough," explained Hamilton.

"The end result isn't great but the race was going relatively well, I was struggling with tyre temperatures at the beginning but then I started to gain on the cars ahead on the medium tyre, it was a really good stint.

"I was keeping up with George and putting in some decent lap times considering how old the hard tyres were at the end.

"We were unlucky with how the VSC played out but I was giving it everything.

"[Qualifying] made the weekend so much harder and I take that on my shoulders. It's gutting but we need to keep fighting, it's all we can do - I know I've got a great team and we'll just keep our heads down."

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