Hamilton still burdened by Bahrain human rights issues
Ian Parkes & Will Gray Sunday 28 march 2021 08:00
Lewis Hamilton has revealed to speaking with lawyers, Amnesty International and the Bahraini ambassador over the winter ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix as he continues to feel burdened by human rights issues in the country.
Hamilton had hoped to address the subject with the Crown Prince at the end of last season but tested positive for Covid-19 in between the Bahrain and Sakhir Grands Prix and was unable to do so.
The seven-time F1 champion has since tried to reach out to three torture survivors who wrote to him before the last race in November.
In December, Hamilton also received a letter from 11-year-old Ahmed Ramadhan, the son of a man facing the death penalty in Bahrain, asking for help.
"I received those letters last year, which weighed quite heavily on me,” said Hamilton. “It's the first time I'd received letters like that on my travels. So for the last few months, I've taken time to try and educate myself.
“Coming here all these years I wasn't aware of all of the details of the human rights issues.
“I spent time speaking to legal human rights experts, human rights organisations, Amnesty [International], I saw the UK ambassador here in Bahrain and I also spoke to Bahraini officials.
"At the moment the steps I've taken really have been in private, and that’s the right way to go about it. I don't really want to say too much that may jeopardise progress but I'm definitely committed to helping in any way I can."
On Wednesday, a group of 61 British MPs wrote a letter to F1, the teams and Hamilton, requesting the sport set up an independent inquiry into human rights abuses in Bahrain.
It is understood that F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali rejected that suggestion and will not be progressing with any research, but Hamilton has said he is taking a personal interest.
Asked if F1 should be taking a position on human rights abuses, Hamilton responded: “It's not in my power to choose where we go and race.