‘Big up the protestors!’: Lewis Hamilton BACKS climate activists who wreaked havoc at Silverstone and insists ‘we need more people like them’… but urges them not to ‘jump on our race circuits’ to make their point
- Lewis Hamilton announced his support for climate protestors at Silverstone
- He asked that they refrain from storming tracks in future to prevent accidents
- Activists jumped on to the track at Silverstone before sitting down in protest
- The British legend later took a record 13th podium spot at a single grand prix
- Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz – who won the race – said protestors must ‘be more careful’
- The race also saw a 53-minute delay after a terrifying crash for Zhou Guanyu
Lewis Hamilton has thrown his support behind the climate activists who invaded the track at Sunday’s British Grand Prix, where he took a record 13th podium at a single race.
Northamptonshire Police said seven people were arrested after the invasion on the opening lap of the Silverstone contest, after five protestors stormed the Wellington Straight before sitting down.
The race had already been suspended following Zhou Guanyu’s high-speed crash, followed by a 53-minute delay before the restart in a high octane, action-packed day at Silvertsone.
Lewis Hamilton has supported activists’ right to ‘stand up for what they believe in’
Hamilton, perhaps to many fans’ surprise, backed the protests on Twitter – understood to be from climate activist group Just Stop Oil – although he warned that storming the track on race day was far too dangerous.
The seven-time world champion said: ‘As we’ve seen today, this is a very dangerous sport.
‘I wasn’t aware of the protests today, and while I’ll always support those standing up for what they believe in, it must be done safely.
WHAT IS A HALO?
A three-pronged titanium bar that sits atop the cockpit to protect drivers when flipping over, as happened to Zhou Guanyu, or when another car lands on top of them, as was the case with Lewis Hamilton last year, or any other accident.
It was introduced at the start of the 2018 season and is now used in every FIA series, as well as other racing formats including IndyCar.
‘Please don’t jump onto our race circuits to protest, we don’t want to put you in harm’s way.’
The quintet were swiftly dragged away by marshals to huge cheers from the watching crowd.
But in a race that saw ambulances and emergency crews called to the scene, there could very nearly have been further incidents after the protestors stormed the fastest part of the track.
Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz, who won his first Grand Prix at the 150th time of asking, said: ‘As soon as I came out of Turn Five I saw three guys running towards me.
‘People have the opportunity to speak out because it is their right, but I don’t believe jumping onto a Formula One track is the best way to do it, and putting yourself at risk, and the other drivers.
‘You have to be more careful because you could get killed and generate an accident.’
Formula One bosses had been alerted to the potential of a protest earlier this week.
A crane was required to remove Zhou’s Guanyu’s car after it flipped over the protective tyres
Event commander chief inspector Tom Thompson said: ‘I’m really disappointed that this group of people ignored our warnings prior to race-day and made the incredibly dangerous decision to enter the track.
‘We offered to facilitate a peaceful event at the circuit but they instead chose to put the lives of the drivers, marshals and volunteers at risk. It is incredibly disappointing that anyone would make the decision to do this.
‘All seven are currently in custody where their details are being ascertained.’
Hamilton’s controversial remarks came after he crossed the line in third position to secure his second podium in as many races.
At one stage, the 37-year-old was a serious contender to win – on fresh rubber and behind only Charles Leclerc and Sainz at the restart with 10 laps to go – before losing out to Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.
Hamilton briefly moved up to second as Leclerc and Perez duelled for position, but his promotion lasted just five corners as the Ferrari and Red Bull charged back past.
Hamilton took Leclerc heading into Stowe with four laps remaining to seal the last spot on the podium – his 13th at Silverstone.
He added: ‘I definitely did enjoy those final laps. It was reminiscent of my karting days’
The Formula One circuit remains in Europe for six more races as it visits Austria next weekend.
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