Lewis Hamilton has questioned why the FIA would hire someone like Vitaly Petrov to be a driver steward for the Portuguese Grand Prix weekend, when the Russian isn’t “with the times”.
Hamilton believes there are better options than Petrov, who he says doesn’t sit well with the FIA’s #WeRaceAsOne campaign given his recent comments.
“I don’t understand the kneeling ceremony,” Petrov is quoted as telling Russian website Championat.com.
“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.”
Petrov also commented on Hamilton’s decision to wear a Breonna Taylor t-shirt on the podium and likened it to a gay driver wearing a rainbow flag.
“I think half of the audience did not understand at all what this shirt was about until it was explained,” added Petrov. “And what if one of the drivers confesses to being gay and will go out with a rainbow flag and urge everyone to become gay? There can be a lot of examples.”
Hamilton isn’t impressed by the FIA decision to hire someone with such views, describing Petrov as “not with the times”.
“I’ve not seen all the quotes – obviously you’ve just recited some of them,” he said on Thursday. “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.
“But 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.”