Hamilton rebels against FIA jewellery ban, claiming 'you should be able to be who you are'

By Sports Desk April 11, 2022

Lewis Hamilton remains staunch in his stance against the FIA's jewellery ban, with the seven-time world champion insisting "you should be able to be who you are".

New race director Niels Wittich, who replaced Michael Masi at the start of the season, informed Formula One drivers that the ruling on accessories would be reinforced before the Australian Grand Prix.

Wittich suggested "body piercing or metal neck chains" were forbidden, with checks to be undertaken before races, but Hamilton still competed on Sunday with piercings in both ears and a nose stud.

The 37-year-old could, in theory, be penalised both financially and in terms of points for breaking the sporting code, with F1's race director insisting the rules were to prevent injury for the driver.

However, Hamilton – who finished fourth in Melbourne, one place behind Mercedes team-mate George Russell – does not intend on removing his jewellery.

"I don't have any plans on removing them," he said. "I feel they are personal things. You should be able to be who you are. There's stuff that I can't move.

"I literally can't take these out [gesturing to piercings on his right ear]. They're literally welded on so I'd have to get them chopped off or something. So they'll be staying.

"It's been the rule forever. Since I've been here it's been the rule, so there's nothing new. I'm just going to come with more jewellery next week."

The jewellery ban has been in place since 2004, but Wittich made a special effort to stress the rule was back into strong consideration in his pre-race notes in Melbourne.

While Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff praised the work of the new race director thus far, he questioned whether Wittich needed to pick a problem with what he sees as a minute issue.

"How he has run the first few races has been respectful, solid and he hasn't put a single foot wrong," Wolff said, as reported by PA Media.

"But is that [jewellery ban] a battle he needs to have at this stage? However, if it turns out to be the biggest unfortunate misstep of a race director, I would take it a thousand times over."

Related items

  • Hamilton pleased with 'small step forwards' as Sainz tops British Grand Prix practice Hamilton pleased with 'small step forwards' as Sainz tops British Grand Prix practice

    Lewis Hamilton was pleased with the "small step forwards" taken by Mercedes after setting the second-fastest time in practice ahead of the British Grand Prix.

    The Briton was 0.163 seconds slower than pace-setter Carlos Sainz in FP2, while compatriot Lando Norris was third and championship leader Max Verstappen in fourth.

    Hamilton has yet to win a race this season, but he offered plenty of promise heading into a big weekend on home soil at a packed Silverstone with his performance in practice.

    However, the seven-time world champion offered a word of caution over the ongoing porpoising issue that has dominated recent races.

    "It's bouncing still, quite a bit," he said. "Not necessarily on the straights but through the corners it's pretty harsh – not physically harsh but in the car on the tyres and everything.

    "So we still have work to do but it feels like a small step forwards.

    "Our long run pace isn't as good as the other guys but it's not miles off. We've definitely made an improvement. I'm sure overnight we can work and improve the car a bit more."

    Hamilton may have endured a difficult campaign to date, lagging as he does 98 points behind leader Verstappen, but he boasts an impressive record on his home turf.

    The 37-year-old has won the British Grand Prix eight times and could become the driver to have won the most races at a single Grand Prix with victory this weekend.

    Mercedes, meanwhile, have recorded eight of the last nine wins at Silverstone, while also taking eight of the last nine poles.

    McLaren driver Norris looks good value to challenge for a second podium of 2022 after a surprising rise up the timesheets, having finished 15th last time out in Canada.

    "As good as it looked, it is still difficult to put things together and be consistent but I am happy," he said.

    "The car seems to be in a decent place, at least a little better than we were expecting."

    Friday was rather unimpressive for Red Bull's Verstappen, who has won six of the nine races this year, including five of the last six.

    But the Dutchman – who is out to surpass Valtteri Bottas and equal Rubens Barrichello as the driver with the eighth-most podiums ever (68) – is confident of finding improvement.

    "It's always a bit tricky, of course, after not driving in FP1 and then FP2 becomes a bit of guessing, let's say it like that," Verstappen said. 

    "It was maybe not ideal, but also not a big issue. I think we know what we have to work on and that's what we'll try to do overnight. 

    "But, again, tomorrow probably it's raining so you have again different kinds of conditions. This time probably was not amazing, but it was also not really bad."

  • Verstappen defends Piquet after Hamilton slur: 'He's definitely not a racist' Verstappen defends Piquet after Hamilton slur: 'He's definitely not a racist'

    Max Verstappen has stated Nelson Piquet is "not a racist" but condemned the Brazilian's "very offensive" slur towards Lewis Hamilton.

    The former Formula One champion has faced backlash after an interview emerged following last season's British Grand Prix in which he was alleged to have used a racial slur in reference to Hamilton, prompting widespread criticism across the F1 paddock.

    Verstappen has condemned the comments from Piquet, which he said were "very offensive", but he defended the character of the 69-year-old, who is the father of his partner Kelly.

    "I've spent a bit of time with Nelson, and he's definitely not a racist, and he's actually a really nice and relaxed guy," he told reporters on Thursday.

    "The statement he released, you can see the word in two ways, but I think it's still better not to use it.

    "It's not only about that word, using offensive language to anyone, any colour, is not correct. That's to anyone in the world, not just to Lewis specifically.

    "I think he realised it was probably not the correct word to use, and clearly it is not.

    "It can be interpreted in two ways, and of course people pick up on the bad side and of course it gets really blown, I think, out of proportion.

    "I know Nelson personally and people of course label him as a racist now, which I don't think he is, but I fully agree that you cannot use these words."

    It has widely been reported F1 will now ban Piquet from the paddock, but Verstappen added he did not feel that would be the correct move.

    "When you ban people, you are actually not helping the situation," he said. "You're not talking.

    "You have to communicate. It's really important, because if you just ban, it's not helping what you're trying to enforce."

  • Hamilton says 'older voices' Ecclestone and Piquet should not be given a platform Hamilton says 'older voices' Ecclestone and Piquet should not be given a platform

    Lewis Hamilton has slammed Bernie Ecclestone's support of Russian President Vladimir Putin and declared he is "not with the times."

    Ex-Formula One supremo Ecclestone stated during an interview with ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Thursday that he would "take a bullet" for “first-class person” Putin.

    When it was put to Ecclestone that thousands of innocent people have been killed in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion, he replied “it wasn't intentional.”

    The 91-year-old also said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky should have done more to stop the ongoing war.

    Ecclestone’s comments come during a grim week for motorsport, with Nelson Piquet having been condemned for a racist comment made about Hamilton and Red Bull axing reserve driver Juri Vips for a racial slur he used in an online streaming session.

    Ecclestone also declared seven-time F1 champion Hamilton should be "happy" that he received an apology from Piquet and ought to have "brushed aside" the Brazilian’s racist slur.

    Hamilton responded by referencing Ecclestone and Piquet as "older voices", declaring they have "nothing positive" to contribute.

    "We push for action. There needs to be some accountability. What is [the platforms'] goal? We don't need [these voices] anymore," he said during a news conference.

    "To hear it from someone who ultimately believes in the war, the killing of millions of people? I can't believe it. They have nothing positive to contribute to where we want to go.

    "I have always tried to take the higher road and be respectful. It ties back to - why do we give them a platform? They are not with the times. They are not willing to change. Microaggression in today's world is not healthy."

    Sebastian Vettel was among those who spoke out in support of Hamilton in Thursday's media session, addressing the abuse that the British driver has faced throughout his career.

    "I think it’s more than just the recent, it’s what he and his family has been through his entire life," he said.

    "The abuse was wrong and it was great to see such a response from the F1 community on the matter and towards Lewis.

    "There shouldn’t be any room for these kinds of comments. It doesn’t help when there are still these things out here and using inappropriate language. 

    "It is important to talk about it because it won’t be gone overnight and we have a responsibility to try and address these issues.

    "Kindness matters and people matter. It was bad to see what was going on."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.