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Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel respond to FIA president’s controversial comments

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel respond to FIA president’s controversial comments

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel respond to FIA president’s controversial comments

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel respond to FIA president’s controversial comments

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have responded to FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem's controversial comments over voicing societal concerns.

Ben Sulayem, who is in the first year of his presidency, was critical of the two F1 champions and McLaren driver Lando Norris for expressing beliefs over the sport, saying: "Niki Lauda and Alain Prost only cared about driving.

"Now, Vettel drives a rainbow bicycle, Lewis is passionate about human rights and Norris addresses mental health. Everybody has the right to think.

"To me, it is about deciding whether we should impose our beliefs in something over the sport all the time."

The comments were backtracked in a social media post from Ben Sulayem which read: "As a driver, I have always believed in sport as a catalyst of progress in society.

"That is why promoting sustainability, diversity and inclusion is a key priority of my mandate. In the same way, I value the commitment of all drivers and champions for a better future."

Asked for his response to the comments made, Hamilton, who has been a leading advocate for a more diversified sport, said: "I only heard about it this morning. I have not read it so I don't really know what has been said.

"I am also aware that sometimes, things that I have said have been taken out of context so that maybe has happened.

"But I heard that he clarified things on social media which is positive and that doesn't stop us from continuing what we are doing.

"The sport is continuously growing, we have a bigger audience than ever before - I think it has gone up nine per cent this year or something - and it continues to be an important platform to use our voices.

"Every single one of us here, within the industry, within our company, do more and speak out more on things, to spark more conversations."

Mercedes will race with a rainbow three-pointed star in Azerbaijan this weekend and Canada at the following event to mark Pride Month.

Hamilton added: "Just look know, for example, I am really proud of what we are doing at Mercedes with our pride star which is the first time I have seen that during my time at Mercedes.

"We have over 1000 people at Mercedes-Benz and creating a more inclusive environment is so important.

"[We are] Focusing on creating better diversity within the organisation which is also so important within the sport. It is moving at a very slow pace and we need more people to utilise the platform.

"I encourage more drivers to be more outspoken in the future and speak about the things we care about. I am proud to see what Seb does and to be an ally of his."

Vettel - Issues are "bigger than sport can ever be"

Vettel's commitment to LGBTQ+ rights was further proven by his appearance on the front cover of the July-August issue of Attitude magazine, a leading lifestyle publication for the community.

Although refusing to be drawn into criticising Ben Sulayem, the Aston Martin driver said: "I don't think there is much point going into what has been said.

"But what I would like to say is the topics Lewis is continuing to raise, the issues Lando has been talking about and the stuff that has been mentioned, I believe they are topics that are very important to be addressed.

"They are bigger than us and bigger than the sport can ever be. It is important to mention those, to express those and raise awareness, to make people aware that there are still lots of things we can improve on."

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