Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2023

‘Massively disappointing’ how countries are handling Gaza conflict – Hamilton

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton admits it has been hard to put thoughts of the conflict in Gaza from his mind as F1 returns to the Middle East.

In brief

Difficult to know children are dying in Gaza – Hamilton

Following speculation this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix could be affected by the conflict in Gaza, Hamilton says he is acutely aware of how much of a “bubble” Formula 1’s paddock is.

The multiple world champion has previously expressed his sadness at the deaths of civilians in Israel and Gaza since the latest increase in violence in the region. Asked about racing just hours away from the conflict, Hamilton admitted it has been on his mind.

“I think it’s been a very strange period for us, because we are in such a bubble here,” he said. “We arrived in all these different places and there’s so much positivity in our little bubble and I think it’s difficult to wake up each day knowing that there are thousands of kids dying and there’s nothing you can do about it. And the rest of the world just goes on as it is and it’s massively disappointing to see how countries and governments are handling it.

“Just to think where we are in 2023 with everything through history – it doesn’t look like we’ve learned anything. So to be able to compartmentalise that and just go ahead with your job I think is difficult. I mean, it’s all over social [media]. There’s not a moment, there’s not a day that you don’t see something pop up on the news. You’re just trying to remain positive through the darkest time.”

O’Ward named McLaren reserve for 2024

IndyCar racer Pato O’Ward has been named as one of McLaren’s reserve drivers in Formula 1 next season.

The McLaren IndyCar driver will share reserve driver duties for the F1 team with Ryo Hirakawa in 2024. The 24-year-old will also run in today’s first practice session in Lando Norris’ car.

Rain light test

A test of a new rain light system will be run immediately at the end of today’s opening practice session. Following the session after all cars have taken the chequered flag, the ‘low grip’ track condition setting will be activated for 20 seconds to allow for a test of the cars’ rear lights used in wet conditions.

Hausmann named Aston Martin’s F1 Academy driver

Susie Wolff, Tina Hausmann, Jessica Hawkins, Aston Martin, Yas Marina, 2023
Hausmann (centre) with Susie Wolff and Jessica Hawkins
Aston Martin have revealed Tina Hausmann will race in their colours during next year’s F1 Academy championship. The 17-year-old will run in the team’s British Racing Green colours while competing for the Prema team.

Ocon unwell

Esteban Ocon was excused from participating in the traditional pre-race weekend media day on Thursday after Alpine confirmed that he had been recovering from “flu-like symptoms” and had been encouraged by doctors to rest. He is expected to participate in second practice as planned after sitting out of the first session for Jack Doohan. His team believe the symptoms were brought on by the stresses of F1’s schedule over the final rounds.

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Comment of the day

With reports that Lewis Hamilton’s management may or may not have made casual approaches to Red Bull before he signed his Mercedes contract extension earlier this year, FW11B fails to see the issue…

Even if it’s true and Hamilton approached Red Bull before extending his contract with Mercedes, what’s the big deal? Hamilton, like every other driver, wants to compete with the best car possible and he thought he saw an opening in the current top team.

I hate this double-standard so much. When an employer fires a person over performance or costs, they will usually say “don’t complain, it’s strictly business”, but when the employee quits or seeks a better placement, the employer will whine and say that said employee should have been a “team player” or more considerate. If Hamilton’s performance drops off a cliff, do you think the Mercedes executives will say “geez, he’s not a good driver anymore, but since he has done so much for us we will keep him”? Power to the drivers!

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Heart Of The Sunrise, Nakavich, Beverly Sanford and Haziq Danish!

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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25 comments on “‘Massively disappointing’ how countries are handling Gaza conflict – Hamilton”

  1. Just to think where we are in 2023 with everything through history – it doesn’t look like we’ve learned anything. So to be able to compartmentalise that and just go ahead with your job I think is difficult.

    We are truly living in the dystopia that’s been long predicted. The global elite distract and control the masses (that’s us) as the safeguards put in place after past wars are both corrupt and impotent. While Hamilton’s statement is and often are refreshing, I wish for him not to compartmentalise his job from this issue (as he hasn’t for black lives matter in the past.)

    For if not, him, and those like him, then who?

    1. Nothing refreshing about him. If he was would be talking about human shields and hostages.

      1. It’s better than the rest of F1 who want to wash their hands of it, and the hands of the countries they make deals with for that matter.

    2. notagrumpyfan
      24th November 2023, 6:11

      There’s no fun being part of the ‘elite’; you get blamed for everything. /s

    3. It’s probably worth mentioning that since the start of 2023, drivers have been required to compartmentalise their job and any issue that the FIA thinks could be a political or personal statement, except in very specific circumstances. Lewis was only allowed to talk about Gaza at all because he was asked about it by a journalist in a recorded conference. Other drivers have not been offered this opportunity and therefore have not been allowed to comment. Even speaking against genocide has cost some in Hollywood their contracts, so even that supposedly safe ground doesn’t exist (notice how vague Lewis is being; that’s not a choice).

      So who gets to do anything? People who are allowed to do so.

      1. Totally agree with you ! If you dare to speak for the poor and against the rich you get penalized

    4. We are truly living in the dystopia that’s been long predicted.

      No, we aren’t. This is the best time ever for the greatest number of people ever. That doesn’t mean everything is fine, and it can definitely be better still, but the day to day news is a terrible way to gauge the state of the world. Their business thrives on negativity.

      1. This. People are clueless about human history.

      2. Valid point. The media seem to not have a shred of taking responsibility. That is an element that has become worse through history while their influence increases. But from ancient history until today there is also lots to celebrate, as we come from picking fights with the tribe from the other side of the forrest.

      3. Let me guess, you thank capitalism for the current best time ever…

        1. I’m with Tristan in this debate.

    5. He did compartmentalize his job and the BLM stuff. Just because you don’t like BLM(quite clearly like most commenters on F1 sites), doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be important to him. Some people have the bizzare habit of telling black people how they should deal with injustice, and from your comment, you are not qualified.

  2. I thought Red Bull eventually got down to 798 kg during last season, but apparently only during the off-season phase.

    1. Not during the season as the new light weight chassis was introduced this season and that really did the trick with the new suspension.

    2. Would that be due to the reduction in catering spend?

  3. Lewis is right on this one.

  4. at least Lewis said something about it. But I’m still waiting for anybody anywhere to point out they could all just share the space together without religion.

    Who could get away with saying that? Max?

    1. @zann Nobody in the F1 paddock, because of the regulations the FIA has imposed, except perhaps Ben Sulayman himself. Somehow, I don’t think he would say such a thing as it would spoil his re-election chances (a lot of the FIA electorate care about religion as a personal matter and would consider “sharing the space together without religion” as being a breach of the FIA Statute 1 requirement to respect religion).

      1. I think it says the opposite, it says FIA mustn’t discriminate on the basis of religion! Which is exactly what both sides are doing, when you think about it

        So cmon Max, or who else? Lando? Guenther?

  5. I’m sure Hamiltons ‘thoughts’ are going to save a lot of people.

  6. I remember Liberty Media was quick to organize a “ NO TO WAR” campaign and got all the drivers to wear those Tshirts with the slogans – why is there no repeat for the current war ? The current war is actually more bloody and vicious with far more innocent casualties then the Ukraine ?

  7. Liberty and F1 organized a NO WAR campaign and all the drivers lines up wearing the Tshirts when war broke out in Ukraine. The current war in Gaza is even more devastating with far more innocent women and children bombed without mercy .
    The number of casualties is shockingly high ! Why not have another No War campaign by F1 ?

  8. Refreshing would be talking about the concentration camp/open air prison that predates Oct 7

  9. “Asked about racing just hours away from the conflict”.
    Well, whichever journalist asked that question displays exactly the sort of cocooned ignorance mentioned by Lewis and indeed by several posters above who are reacting both favourably and less favourably to Lewis’ stance.
    That’s because Abu Dhabi is about the same distance (just over 2100km) and flight time (just over 3 hours) to Tel Aviv or Gaza as is Budapest to Tel Aviv or Gaza.
    But I very much doubt if the conflict had been happening during the Hungarian GP weekend that the journalist would have asked Lewis the same question.
    Yes, I know there are valid reasons why Abu Dhabi is more pertinent to the Israel/Palestine situation than Budapest, but journey time ain’t one of them.

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