Lewis Hamilton urges Formula One drivers to be 'more outspoken' after comments by FIA president

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Lewis Hamilton urges Formula One drivers to be ‘more outspoken’ as he and Sebastian Vettel vow to continue speaking out on social issues after FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said he wouldn’t impose his beliefs on others

  • Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel regularly speak in public on social issues
  • Mohammed Ben Sulayem questioned whether the duo should state their views
  • The FIA president took to Twitter on Wednesday to clarify his comments
  • Hamilton has urged drivers to be more outspoken over issues they care about 

Lewis Hamilton has urged his fellow Formula One drivers to be ‘more outspoken’ despite opposition from FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

The seven-time champion and Sebastian Vettel have both vowed to continue speaking out on social issues despite Ben Sulayem insisting he wouldn’t impose his opinions on others.

Ben Sulayem took to social media to clarify his comments, though Hamilton believes drivers should be more outspoken about issues they care about.

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have vowed to continue to speak out on social issues

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have vowed to continue to speak out on social issues

Mohammed Ben Sulayem said he would never impose his beliefs on people in response to Hamilton, Vettel and McLaren's Lando Norris speaking in public over an array of issues

Mohammed Ben Sulayem said he would never impose his beliefs on people in response to Hamilton, Vettel and McLaren’s Lando Norris speaking in public over an array of issues

He said during a press conference ahead of this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix: ‘I heard that he clarified things on social media which is positive. But it doesn’t stop us from doing what we are doing.

‘The sport is continuously growing. We have a bigger audience than ever before. And it continues to be an important platform for us to use our voices, every single one of us, to do more and to speak out more on things and to spark more conversations.

‘Creating a more inclusive environment is so important, as is focusing on better diversity within our own organisation.

‘But also it is so important in the sport because it is moving at a very slow pace and we need more people to utilise their platforms.

‘I encourage all the drivers to be more outspoken in the future and speak about things they care about.

Vettel has been a keen champion on the environment and wore a shirt ahead of the Miami GP which read: 'Miami 201060. First Grand Prix under water. Act now or swim later.'

Vettel has been a keen champion on the environment and wore a shirt ahead of the Miami GP which read: ‘Miami 201060. First Grand Prix under water. Act now or swim later.’

‘I’m proud to see what Seb does and to be an ally of his.’

Four-time world champion Vettel has demanded environmental change, and wore a T-shirt ahead of last month’s inaugural Miami Grand Prix which read: ‘Miami 2060. First Grand Prix under water. Act now or swim later.’ 

Vettel also responded to the FIA president’s comments, as he said: ‘The topics that Lewis is continuing to raise, the issues Lando (Norris) has been talking about and the stuff that I’ve been mentioning, I believe they are topics that are very important to be addressed.

‘And they are bigger than us, bigger than a sport can ever be. It is important to mention those, express those and to raise awareness to make people aware that there’s still lots of things that we can improve on.’ 

Hamilton and Vettel have been outspoken on diversity issues in recent years, while Vettel has also started to champion environmentalism.

McLaren driver Norris meanwhile has also attempted to encourage conversations on mental health.

In an interview with GrandPrix247, Ben Sulayem described motorsport as ‘too political’ and compared Hamilton, Vettel and Norris to Alain Prost and Niki Lauda – who he said said were ‘only interested in driving.’ 

Hamilton has urged his fellow drivers to be more outspoken over issues they care about

He said: ‘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 believes in something over the sport all the time.

‘I am from an Arabian culture. I am international and Muslim. I do not impose my believes on other people? No way! Never.’

Ben Sulayem took to Twitter to clarify his comments on Wednesday as he posted: ‘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.’

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