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Protesters Backed By Lewis Hamilton But Warned To Stay Off Formula One Track

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Disaster was avoided twice on the first lap of Sunday afternoon grand prix at Silverstone, following Zhou Guanyu’s high speed crash at the first corner. The Chinese driver’s car flipped, after a collision involving Mercedes driver George Russell, with the British driver rushing to help, and Zhou’s car ended up stuck behind a tyre wall and a fence protecting the fans, who ran in fear of being hit by the car.

 

 

The incident put an end to the race for nearly an hour as a red flag led to the rest of the cars returning to the pit lane as emergency services worked on getting Zhou free. Whilst the cars made their way back to the pit, protestors stormed onto the track on the Wellington Straight, with the five protestors understood to be from climate activist group Just Stop Oil. Northamptonshire Police managed to remove them but there were fears that, without the first corner incident, the protestor would have been in serious trouble from the cars on the track.

 

 

Hamilton, who finished third in the race, has now surprisingly backed the activists but also warned them to stay away from racing tracks in future. “As we’ve seen today, this is a very dangerous sport,” the seven times world champion said on Instagram. “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 onto our race circuits to protest, we don’t want to put you in harm’s way.”

 

 

Hamilton had also backed the protests earlier saying, “Big up those guys. Big up the protesters. I love that people are fighting for the planet and we need more people like them.” However, after backlash around the safety of everyone, the Mercedes driver put out a statement from his team, saying, “Lewis was endorsing their right to protest but not the method that they chose, which compromised their safety and that of others.” The 37-year-old hasn’t had a good season on track so far but looked his closest to a win this year, before a late safety car all but ended his chances.

 

 

Hamilton had been running in third but had much fresher tyres than Ferrari pair Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr, and was catching them. The safety car allowed Sainz, and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, to put fresher tyres on, although Leclerc missed out, leading to Sainz earning his first ever win in F1.

 

 

The Ferrari driver also criticised the protesters choice of venue, after the race, saying, “I support the causebut I don’t believe jumping on to an F1 track is the right way to do it. You could kill them.” McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo didn’t seem to have too many worries about the safety of those who trespassed onto the course though, adding, “We’re good enough to slow down.” Footage from Esteban Ocon’s car did suggest that the drivers weren’t too far off driving into the protesters however, even after having to slow down for the red flag.

 

 

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