Lewis Hamilton says he ‘loves people fighting for the planet’ after seven protestors invaded Silverstone track

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Lewis Hamilton says he “loves people fighting for the planet” after seven people were arrested following an invasion of the track at the start of the British Grand Prix - later adding that such protests “must be done safely.”

As the contest was immediately red flagged following Guanyu Zhou’s heavy crash at Abbey and cars headed for the pits, protestors broke on to the circuit at the Wellington Straight before sitting down.

Hamilton, who was only told about the focus of the protest in the post-race press conference and was not aware of the method chosen, backed their cause - with those who entered the track wearing T-shirts protesting against global oil usage.

After originally quipping “big up the protestors”, Hamilton later elaborated: “I didn’t know what the protest was for and I’ve only just found out.

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

Hamilton later put up a post on his Instagram story, saying: “As we’ve seen today, this is a 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.”

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

Northamptonshire Police - who had sent out an appeal on Thursday to the group of people involved not to invade the track after receiving “credible intelligence” - said seven people have been arrested.

Race winner Carlos Sainz and second-placed Sergio Perez agreed with Hamilton’s sentiment and added that they should not have put themselves or others at risk by invading a live race track.

Protestors were removed from the Silverstone circuit in Sunday’s British Grand Prix (Helena Hicks/PA) (PA Media)
Protestors were removed from the Silverstone circuit in Sunday’s British Grand Prix (Helena Hicks/PA) (PA Media)

Sainz said: “People can speak out and do mainfestations wherever they want because it’s a right. I just don’t believe jumping into a Formula 1 track is the best way to do it.

“You put yourself at risk and all the other drivers. Yes I support the cause, F1 is doing a great job to try and go carbon-zero by 2030 and we are pushing on this area.

“But I don’t believe juming into a Formula 1 track is the right way to manifest yourself and protest so we have to be more careful because you could kill them or generate an accident.”

Perez added: “Similar to Lewis it’s the first time I found out. Formula 1 needs to do more and keep pushing and improving and go in that direction, it’s great to see people fight for the cause but obviously it’s good if they don’t put themselves at risk or put other people at risk.”

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali described the protestors as “totally stupid” and “ridiculous” for invading the track at Silverstone.

“Totally responsible people that can protest and can say something by voice – but running the risk in a track, jeopardising and having really serious stuff for the drivers and for themselves, it’s totally stupid and this is not acceptable,” he told Sky F1.

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