Lewis Hamilton does not feel comfortable racing in Saudi Arabia

By Sports Desk December 02, 2021

Lewis Hamilton is not comfortable racing in Saudi Arabia due to the country's human rights record and says it is "not his choice" to be there. 

Saudi Arabia is hosting its first Formula One race this weekend in Jeddah as part of a reported 10-year deal. 

In the build-up to the race, a number of human rights groups have accused F1 of being complicit in 'sportswashing' for the regime. 

However, reigning world champion Hamilton is hoping the race weekend will at least help raise further awareness around the issue. 

"I feel that the sport and us are duty bound to help raise awareness for certain issues that we've seen, particularly human rights in these countries that we're going to," he said.  

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

"Do I feel comfortable here? I wouldn't say I do. 

"But it's not my choice to be here – the sport has taken the choice to be here. Whether it's right or wrong, while we're here, I feel it's important that we do try to raise awareness." 

Mercedes driver Hamilton heads into the penultimate race of the season eight points behind championship leader Max Verstappen. 

Verstappen could win his maiden title on Sunday if results go his way, but Hamilton has won the last two races in Brazil and Qatar and feels in good shape. 

"I'm more relaxed than I've ever been," he said. "I've been around a long time. I remember how it was with my first championship, even my second and third... the sleepless nights. 

"Now I am a lot more sure about myself and have applied myself better than ever before. 

"I can't change the past – all I can do is prepare 100 per cent for what's ahead of me and I am sure I have." 

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    PROVISIONAL GRID

    1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) – 1:31.504
    2. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) + 0.116
    3. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) + 0.204
    4. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46) +0.292
    5. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) + 0.364
    6. Jack Miller (Ducati) + 0.620
    7. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) + 0.671
    8. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) + 0.768
    9. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) +0.803
    10. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) +0.863

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