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Hamilton welcomes F1 environmental protestors – but done in the right way

Lewis Hamilton welcomes the prospect of an environmental protest at the Formula 1 British GP but only if done in the right way and participants stay clear of the track.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG

Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Last year, several protestors from the Just Stop Oil group got onto the circuit at the start of the Silverstone race, just before it was red-flagged for Zhou Guanyu’s accident.

Seven people were subsequently arrested, and F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali called their actions “completely irresponsible and dangerous” and said their actions “put lives in danger”.

Similar protests have continued since then at sporting events and cultural institutions, and thus there are fears of a repeat at Silverstone next weekend.

Despite confirming his support of the environmental cause, Hamilton has stressed that any action should be “peaceful.”

“I welcome protesters or activists,” he said when asked by Autosport for his thoughts on possible action at Silverstone.

“I mean, always they are pushing for positive change. We never want to see people standing on the track and putting themselves in harm's way.

“But that sparks conversation, that sparks dialogue, and it often helps. Sometimes, done the right way, it sparks change, and we need more change.

Police at the circuit dealing with protestors

Police at the circuit dealing with protestors

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

“We need to become more sustainable. We need to be more inclusive. There are all these things that we need to do more of, and it's moving at such a fast pace, the industry, that sometimes some of those things fall off.

“And they need to be sparked up again by conversations. So I hope we don't have the same scenario that we had [last year]. But as I said, I'm always supportive of peaceful protesters."

Hamilton also stressed that he didn’t want to see a repeat of the crowd incidents at the 2022 Austrian GP, when there were reports of harassment.

“No, definitely not,” he said. “Especially when we're coming to such a beautiful place it was definitely sad to hear what happened last year. And I do know that F1 has taken action to make some changes here this weekend.

“But I still feel that there's work that needs to be done. Potentially the same group of people could turn up.

“And we just need to be very strong in our stance in terms of how we expect people to be within this space, that's inclusive, and for anybody. So I hope last year was a one-off, fingers crossed.”

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