Lewis Hamilton says Formula 1 can do more to try to improve the “massive problem” of human rights issues in some of the countries the sport visits.

It comes after 30 UK MPs raised concerns of human rights violations linked to this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix on Wednesday and called on F1 bosses to “leverage Bahrain into respecting human rights”.

The BIRD said the letter “urges F1 to secure justice for victims of abuses linked to the Bahrain Grand Prix, protect the rights of protesters and enact their human rights policy to ensure their business practices do not contribute to human rights abuses, in light of the ‘worsening’ human rights situation in the country.”

Hamilton received letters from rights groups upon arriving in Bahrain for this weekend’s race and the Mercedes driver said he would “take some time to digest them”.

"It is very important for all sports to use the platform they have to push for change,” the newly-crowned seven-time world champion added. "The human rights issue in so many of the places we go to is a massive problem.

“We are one of the few sports that go to so many different countries and I do believe as a sport we need to do more. We have taken a step in the right direction but we can always do more.

"They have put some steps in place for the places we go to but it is important to make sure they are implemented in the right way and that we see some action taken.

"That is going to take some work but it's all in the background.”

Bahrain has been on the F1 calendar since 2004 but the 2011 race was cancelled because of anti-government protests and civil unrest during the Arab Spring uprisings in the Gulf kingdom.

It is among a number of F1’s host countries that human rights groups have highlighted concerns over, with others including China, Azerbaijan, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

The sport has been criticised for racing in countries with poor human rights records in the past and again recently following the announcement that Saudi Arabia will make its debut on the calendar next year.

 

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