Lewis Hamilton explains why he has not boycotted Saudi Arabia GP

Hamilton opens up on plans to remain in F1 ahead of new season

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Lewis Hamilton has revealed why he will not boycott the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix despite raising concerns over human rights issues. The seven-time champion had initially dodged questions over the concerns and safety but eventually budged.

The Mercedes star suggested the only reason he had decided to compete was because the event would “continue without me”. It comes 12 months on from a missile strike by Yemeni rebels which threatened the security of last year’s Grand Prix.

When questioned on whether drivers felt safe to compete in Jeddah, Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez admitted they trusted F1 and race organisers. They also felt there had been some positive changes over human rights issues in Saudi Arabia.

However, Hamilton said he disagreed with the pair and claimed he “didn’t want to get into” safety and human rights issues.

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And he eventually let his thoughts be known as he stressed F1 needed to do more. He explained: “If I am not here, F1 will continue on without me so what I try to do is learn as much as I can.

“I still feel that as a sport going to places with human rights issues such as this one, the sport is duty bound to raise awareness and try to leave a positive impact.

“I feel it needs to do more. What that is I don’t have all the answers but we always need to do more to try to raise awareness of things people are struggling with.”

Saudi Arabian officials have given assurances steps have been put in place to ensure the race is secure. This includes a ceasefire which is expected to remain in place during the Grand Prix weekend.

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Esteban Ocon accepted the incident last year was “scary” and something the drivers never wanted to experience again. However, Haas star Kevin Magnussen also admitted drivers had concerns last season.

But, he believed drivers would “battle through” despite the issues off-track. He explained: “Last year was pretty, erm, special. None of us enjoyed it. but it is a different situation now, there is a different political… there is a ceasefire between the two parties that were involved last year and that gives some confidence.

“Anyway, we go to these places and we just have to deal with it the best we can and get through.”

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