Lewis Hamilton has threatened he will refuse to race with a halo canopy protection device as he stepped up his opposition to its introduction.

Having yesterday declined to deliver comment on the controversial 'halo' canopy, which reappeared on the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel again briefly this morning, Hamilton went on to express his dislike for the device in a social media post in which he called it 'the worst mod in F1 history'.

Speaking to reporters here at the Circuit de Catalunya, Hamilton has since furthered his rhetoric against the device, saying he will refuse to race if the halo device is forced through.

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"If it is going to come in I hope we have an option to use it or not because I will not be using it on my car," he said. "I hope that's not what they're bringing, I really do. Ultimately it's the driver's protection so we should have a choice individually.

Though Hamilton maintains he is committed to improving safety in F1, he feels it should be up to drivers to assess how much risk they are willing to take, adding he would rather risk himself without it.

"I like it the way it is now and when I get in the car I know there is a certain risk," he continued. "Safety is a very, very important issue for sure, but there are risks that we take and you have to decide how much of a risk you are going to take. For me I would rather drive without it and risk it."

Hamilton's views have been shared by Nico Hulkenberg, who said it 'looks horrible' and 'sanitises' the sport, though the feeling is strongly in favour amongst others, with Vettel and Nico Rosberg both throwing their support behind the device, which the FIA has spent the last year testing intensively for a potential 2017 introduction.

Cockpit protection has been on the agenda since 2009 when Felipe Massa knocked unconscious in his Ferrari during the Hungarian Grand Prix when he was struck by an errant spring that had come off Rubens Barrichello's BrawnGP car.

However, it has returned to prominence recently with the deaths of Jules Bianchi and ex-F1 driver Justin Wilson, who latter killed when he was hit by a nose cone in an IndyCar race at the Pocono Speedway.

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I suspect both Justin Wilson and Henry Surtees would have liked such a device at the time of their tragic accidents.

Personally, I don't have any issue with the looks whatever they are, if it does what it says on the can. F1 cars today, anyway, are ugly things compared to those of previous era's (especially pre-wings and aero appendages). Today's cars are safer? Yes, of course they are, before anyone thinks I want to hark back to the dark days.