Lewis Hamilton speaks after the Austrian GP. While Charles Leclerc won the Grand Prix on Sunday, the race weekend was disrupted by racist, sexist and homophobic behaviour in the Red Bull Ring. When asked about this, Lewis Hamilton strongly condemned the acts, while slamming Formula 1’s passivity on these acts of harassment.
The Austrian Grand Prix, the eleventh round of the 2022 Formula One season, took place on Sunday at the Spielberg circuit where Charles Leclerc crossed the finish line first, closely followed by Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. While the show was on track, the party was spoiled in the stands of the Red Bull Ring. Indeed, some spectators were racist, sexist and homophobic throughout the weekend. The drivers were asked about this after the race, and Lewis Hamilton was particularly upset about the malicious spectators saying:
“I came in yesterday morning in a very positive frame of mind and then I heard some of the things that were said and I was a bit shocked and really sad,” said the seven-time world champion, before adding: “You have to realise that people come in at the weekend to have a good time, to party, to enjoy their free time and to have a great experience.
“And you know, if you go to the UK, we obviously have a lot of fans that go there. Here, of course, at the Red Bull Ring, there’s a lot of Orange Army, so when we go around the parade, you have to look hard to see the fluorescent [Mercedes] caps, they stand out a bit better, but there’s not as many as the orange ones here. But when you notice someone sitting in the crowd, supporting someone else, and getting insults, it’s… It’s crazy to think we’re still experiencing these things in 2022.”
When asked what solutions he has to eradicate these problems in the stands, the British driver said:
“I haven’t thought much about finding solutions to what sport should do. It goes back to some of the messages we’ve been talking about in terms of what we need to do in sport, which is to be more committed to diversity and inclusion. Because it reflects the direction we’re going and it also often reflects what our fan base looks like.”
Finally, Hamilton took the opportunity to take a swipe at Formula One, whose actions he considers ineffective and insufficient when it comes to racism, homophobia and all societal issues:
“It’s time to act. “We Race as One’ was all well and good, but it was just words. There has been no funding for anything, there has been no programme to create change and nurture this conversation. We definitely need to use our platforms, but we really need to step up and really start acting on some of the things we’re saying.
“Just saying a few words… that’s not enough. It’s not acceptable. It’s not enough.”