‘It is a surprise to see they are hiring someone who is so vocal about things we are trying to fight against’: Lewis Hamilton slams decision to appoint former F1 driver Vitaly Petrov as a race steward amid Russian’s views against Black Lives Matter
- Lewis Hamilton has slammed decision to appoint Vitaly Petrov as a race steward
- The former Russian driver has publicly opposed Black Lives Matter movement
- Six-time world champion Hamilton said he does not understand the FIA’s move
Lewis Hamilton has criticised Formula One bosses for appointing a steward who has spoken out against Black Lives Matter.
The world champion has led the sport’s fight for equality, calling on his fellow drivers to take a knee.
But former F1 driver Vitaly Petrov, who is making his debut as one of four stewards at this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix, said: ‘A Black Lives Matter T-shirt is superfluous, as is calling on everyone to kneel.
Lewis Hamilton has slammed the decision to appoint Vitaly Petrov an F1 race steward
The Russian, who is a former F1 driver, has publicly opposed the Black Lives Matter movement
‘It is a personal matter for every adult.
‘According to our traditions, a man kneels only in two cases – in a place of worship before God and when you propose to your future wife.
‘You can speak out on your social networks, you can give interviews. But for Formula One itself to call on everyone… I think…’
The 36-year-old Russian, who raced against Hamilton 57 times, added: ‘What if one of the drivers comes out as gay? Will they get a rainbow flag and urge everyone else to become gay?’
The six-time world champion, 35, is an ardent supporter of the anti-racism movement
Hamilton hit back, saying: ‘It is a surprise to see they are hiring someone who is so vocal about things we are trying to fight against. We should be including people who are with the times and sensitive to the matters that are surrounding us. So I don’t really understand what the FIA’s goal is or why he is here. It is not like they don’t have other options.’
The FIA declined to comment. They did, however, warn Racing Point over their failure to test Lance Stroll as soon as he went down with Covid symptoms during the Eifel Grand Prix a fortnight ago. The Canadian later tested positive.