LOSAIL, Qatar — Lewis Hamilton is wearing a crash helmet promoting LGBTQ+ rights at this weekend’s Qatar Grand Prix.
Hamilton’s helmet features a prominent pride flag on the top, which is visible from the car’s onboard camera, and the message “We Stand Together” instead of his usual message “Still I Rise”.
Human rights groups have highlighted both Qatar and Saudi Arabia, where the next round of the F1 championship will take place in December, as countries using F1 to “sportswash’ their image by diverting attention away from human rights abuses.
Qatar’s penal code criminalises same-sex sexual relations, with Human Rights Watch reporting that punishments can range from one to three years in prison.
Speaking in a news conference ahead of the race weekend, Hamilton said: “I do feel that we’re aware there are issues in these places that we’re going to, as there are all around the world.
“But of course [Qatar] seems to be deemed as one of the worst in this part of the world.
“I do think as the sports go to these places, they are the duty bound to raise awareness for these issues.
“These places need scrutiny from the media to speak about these things. Equal rights is a serious issue.”