Lewis Hamilton goes undercover to inspire school children
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Lewis Hamilton has been spotted wearing a rainbow helmet in support of the LGBTQ+ community at this week’s Qatar Grand Prix, a nation synonymous with alleged human rights abuses.
Qatar is hosting its first ever Formula One Grand Prix in the capital of Doha this weekend, with Hamilton heading to the Middle East in form after winning last week’s Brazilian Grand Prix in dramatic fashion.
This means the seven-time world champion is just 14 points behind leader, and title rival Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with just three races to go.
However, Hamilton has revealed there is much more to this weekend’s meet in Doha than racing.
Ahead of the race the Englishman discussed the human rights controversies surrounding this week’s host nation, and insists Qatar should be held accountable and scrutinised for abuses.
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He said: “We’re aware there are issues in these places that we’re going to but of course [Qatar] seems to be deemed as one of the worst in this part of the world.
“As sports go to these places, they are duty bound to raise awareness for these issues. These places need scrutiny. Equal rights is a serious issue.”
This week’s race is not the only major sporting event Qatar will be holding over the next year, as the 2022 football World Cup will take place in the Middle East nation in 12 months time.
England secured their place at the tournament earlier this week thanks to a crushing 10-0 victory over San Marino on Monday, and manager Gareth Southgate revealed that he and his players will ‘try to educate themselves’ on Qatar’s human rights issues.
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Southgate commented: “It’s hugely complex but we will take time to educate ourselves and if there’s areas we can highlight, we will try to do that.”
As a result, Hamilton believes raising issues collectively in the sporting world will lead to a much bigger impact in tackling the problem.
The Mercedes driver said: “If we are coming to these places, we need to be raising the profile of the situation.
“One person can only make a certain amount of small difference but collectively we can have a bigger impact. Do I wish that more sportsmen and women spoke out on these issues? Yes.
“It’s down to whether you decide to educate yourself and hold the sport more accountable and make sure the sport is actually doing something when they go to those places.”
In what is set to be a nail-biting race as the F1 title chase nears its conclusion, Hamilton could be given an added boost with Verstappen potentially being hit with a penalty after it appeared that he reared the Englishman off the track in last week’s battle in Brazil.
Whilst the Dutchman was not punished for his actions in Sao Paulo, the FIA continue to look into the matter with a decision expected to be announced today.
If Verstappen is deemed guilty of the infringement it is likely he will be handed a grid penalty for Sunday’s race in Doha.
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