Hamilton urges protestors not to enter race tracks after British GP invasion

Lewis Hamilton says “we need more people” that are “fighting for the planet” after learning of the protest at Sunday’s F1 British Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR)
Lewis Hamilton (GBR)

A group of protestors invaded the circuit during the opening lap of the British Grand Prix and sat down on the Silverstone track. 

At least four activists, wearing T-shirts protesting against global oil usage, were seen walking on the track and sitting down on the Wellington straight shortly after the race had begun. 

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The race was red-flagged almost immediately after Alfa Romeo Guanyu Zhou’s horrific Turn 1 crash.

Asked what he made of the protest, Hamilton replied: “I don’t know what the protestors were so…”

When informed of the cause, the seven-time world champion then said: “Big up those guys.”

Asked to clarify his feelings towards it, Hamilton added: “I didn’t know what the protestors were for, so I only just found out. 

“I just said big up the protestors. I love that people are fighting for the planet. So we need more people like them.”

Police on the circuit at the start of the race as an incident involving people attempting to enter the circuit. Formula 1
Police on the circuit at the start of the race as an incident involving…

Mercedes said: “Lewis was endorsing their right to protest but not the method that they chose, which compromised their safety and that of others.” 

Hamilton later posted a message on his Instagram story which read: "As we've seen today, this is 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. 

"Please don't jump on to our race circuits to protest, we don't want to put you in harms way." 

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez echoed Hamilton’s stance but said he was glad that the situation did not get out of hand and put anyone in danger. 

“Certainly F1 needs to do more, be pushing and going in that direction, and it’s great to see people fighting for that cause,” said Perez. 

“Obviously it’s good that they don’t put themselves at risk or put other people at risk. I’m sure F1 can still do more and we have to keep pushing all together to show a good example.”

While race-winner Carlos Sainz said he understood the reason for the protest, he said the manner in which it was conducted was not right. 

“I think people have the opportunity to speak out and do manifestations wherever they want because it’s a right, but I don’t believe jumping into a F1 track is a good way to do it because you put yourself at risk and all the other drivers,” said Sainz. 

“I support the cause and I think F1 is doing a great job already to try and go carbon zero by 2030 and we are pushing on this area, and we pushing F1 and the FIA to find ways to go in this direction. 

“I just don’t believe that jumping onto a F1 track is the right way to manifest yourself and protest. You need to be a bit more careful because you could get killed and create an accident.” 

Police on the circuit at the start of the race as an incident involving people attempting to enter the circuit. Formula 1
Police on the circuit at the start of the race as an incident involving…

What was the protest about? 

Just Stop Oil claimed credit for the protest in a social media post which read: "If you are more outraged about this disruption than our world being burnt before our eyes, then you need to get your priorities straight.

“We are going to lose everything we love to extreme heating and climate breakdown. We will not be spectators while our planet burns and our entire species suffers. We will not sit by and do nothing while  our government continues with oil.” 

Northamptonshire Police said that seven arrests had been made. 

“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,” said chief Inspector Tom Thompson. 

“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.  

“Thankfully we had plans in place for an eventuality such as this and the group were swiftly removed and arrested by our officers.

“All seven are currently in custody where their details are being ascertained.

“Finally, I would like to thank all of the officers and staff, as well as our partners, who have worked tirelessly on this policing operation. Generally we have had very low crime rates, today’s incident was dealt with effectively and efficiently, and I could not have asked for more."

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