Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton says he is surprised by the choice of Vitaly Petrov as one of the stewards for this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix.

In an interview with Russian sport news site Championat, Petrov was critical of Hamilton’s push to encourage more drivers to support the kneeling protests before races. 

“Honestly, I don’t understand the kneeling ceremony,” the former Renault and Caterham driver said. 

"According to our traditions, people kneel only on two occasions - in a temple, before God, and when you propose to your future wife.

"With this gesture, they are trying to draw attention to the fight against racism. Russia has a different mentality, and we don't have such a problem that Hamilton talks about.

"There should be respect for every person, but I think that then it is necessary to think over everything more globally, to create some kind of organisation for funding."

Petrov was equally not impressed by Hamilton’s decision to wear a Breonna Taylor T-shirt in a protest at Mugello, with the Russian adding “what if one of the drivers confesses to being gay and will go out with a rainbow flag and urge everyone to become gay?”

Asked for his opinion on the decision to include Petrov on the stewarding panel for the first time, Hamilton replied: "I would say it's a surprise to see they would be hiring someone that has those beliefs, and is so vocal about things that we're trying to fight against. 

"So you should take it up with them really, there's nothing I can particularly do about it.

"We should definitely be including people here who are with the times, who are understanding of the times that we are living in, and sensitive to the matters that are surrounding us.

"I don't really understand what their goal is or why particularly he's here. It's not like they don't have any other good options."