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Hamilton Sports Rainbow Helmet as Mercedes face criticism over sponsor


Lewis Hamilton, who will race in support of human rights and the LGBTQ + community this weekend by wearing a rainbow-colored helmet at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, wrapped himself in another controversy on Friday. The seven-time world champion said he felt uncomfortable participating in the potentially decisive event at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit after making clear his opposition to “scary” laws that make same-sex relationships illegal.

He wore his rainbow and colored chevron helmet last month on his way to victory in Qatar where similar laws exist and plans to do so again at next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

But before he started training on Friday, Hamilton and his Mercedes team were criticized by British Housing Minister Michael Gove and survivors of London’s Grenfell Tower fire for a sponsorship deal with a firm linked to the 2017 disaster.

Gove and the survivors have called on Mercedes to reconsider the sponsorship, which was announced this week, which the Kingspan brand will see on their cars.

The Irish company manufactures insulation and cladding products.

The surviving group Grenfell United said in a post on Twitter that the partnership was “really shocking”.

The Grenfell fire killed 72 people when flammable cladding on the apartment block quickly burned.

Gove said on Twitter he was “deeply disappointed” that Mercedes was taking sponsorship from Kingspan while an investigation was underway.

He said: “I will write to Mercedes to ask them to reconsider. The Grenfell community deserves better.”

The Grenfell response came after Hamilton made clear his view on human rights in Saudi Arabia.

“As I said at the last race, I felt the sport and we are committed to ensuring that we try to raise awareness for certain issues, especially human rights in the countries we are going to,” said Hamilton.

“With the greatest respect for everyone who is here, I had a warm respect from everyone here on earth.

“I can not pretend that I am ever the most knowledgeable or have the deepest understanding of anyone who grew up here in the community.

“Do I feel comfortable here? I could not say I do, but it is not my choice to be here …

“The sport has made the choice to be here and whether it is right or wrong, while we are here, I think it is important to cultivate awareness.

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“You saw my helmet in the last race and I will wear it again here and in the next race. If anyone wants to take the time to read what the law is for the LGBT + community, it’s pretty scary.”

(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated stream.)

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