Lewis Hamilton says he will donate $500,000 to support the fire service and animal welfare charities working in the Australian Bushfire crisis.

The six-time Formula 1 world champion says he “can’t help but grieve for the defenceless animals thought to have died” in the fires that have swept across Australia since September.

Australia has been devastated by raging bushfires triggered by record-breaking temperatures and months of severe droughts across the country. 27 people have been killed so far, including three volunteer firefighters, with more than 6.3 million hectares of bush, forest and land burned.

Hamilton, who along with the rest of the F1 paddock, is set to head to Melbourne for the 2020 season opener at Albert Park in early March and the sport is currently monitoring the bushfire crisis with Australian Grand Prix organisers.

In a series of social media posts Hamilton wrote: “It saddens me deeply to know that over 1 billion animals in Australia died a painful death, no way out, not their fault.

“My love of animals is no secret and I can’t help but grieve for the defenceless animals thought to have died so far, pushing certain species closer to extinction.

“I’m lucky enough to visit Australia often and I know first-hand how beautiful the country is. Keep fighting Australia. I’ve spent some time speaking to people in Australia who are working at the heart of this and I’m filled with admiration for everything they are doing.”

Hamilton has also called on his followers and fans to help support the aid work as well as think about fighting climate change.

“I implore you to join me in thinking about the impact we have having on our planet. Let’s work together to make small changes, and encourage our family and friends to do the same, so we can help shift the direction we’re going in.”

Hamilton’s US $500,000 donation will go to WIRES Wildfire Rescue, WWF Australia and the Rural Fire Service.

The Mercedes driver becomes the latest sporting star to help raise funds for the bushfire appeal, following Shane Warne’s AUS $1,007,500 auction of one of his Australian cricket caps – given to him for playing for his country – while MotoGP’s Jack Miller auctioned one of his 2018 helmets which raised AUS $18,000.



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