Lewis Hamilton hit out at FIA before new jewellery row: ‘Always trying to slow us down’
F1 preview: A lap of the Miami Grand Prix
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Lewis Hamilton, 37, has become embroiled in a row over his jewellery ahead of the inaugural Miami Grand Prix today. New FIA race director Niels Wittich reminded drivers ahead of the race about the governing body’s rules on accessories. FIA rules state: “The wearing of jewellery in the form of body piercing or metal neck chains is prohibited during the competition and may therefore be checked before the start.”
Compared to his predecessor Michael Masi, Wittich has taken a tougher approach to the rules.
The rules affect Hamilton, who regularly sports jewellery and who branded the renewed focus on the issue “almost a step backwards”.
The British Mercedes driver, who mostly wears his jewellery out of the car, said that during racing he only wears “earrings and nose ring, which I can’t remove”.
He has removed some of his jewellery in the car for the Miami GP and has been given a two-race exemption for pieces that are more difficult to take out.
Hamilton is known for expressing his opinions about F1 and has previously hit out at the FIA over other issues.
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The Mercedes ace spoke out against a decision by the governing body to outlaw engine qualifying modes in 2020.
Banning the powerful engine settings, which are used by drivers in qualifying, was intended to “slow down” drivers, Hamilton claimed.
In an interview before the Spanish Grand Prix, he said: “It’s not a surprise, they’re always trying to slow us down.”
Mercedes is one of the best performing teams of the turbo-hybrid era with 99 pole positions since 2014.
Hamilton was asked whether the team would therefore feel the effects of the ban more than other teams.
He replied: “No. Just going back to the fact, at the end of the day, the guys at our team have done such a great job with the engine.
“As I told you, it’s obviously to slow us down, but I don’t think it’s going to get the result that they want. So, it’s totally fine if they do it.”
His teammate at the time, Valtteri Bottas, also addressed the ban.
He said: “If that’s the regulation that comes it’s the same for everyone. It’s not up to us but we’ll take it if it comes.”
Hamilton’s fellow Briton George Russell also admitted that he did not want to see the end of engine qualifying modes.
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He said: “Yeah, I’d be disappointed to see it lost
“I think for every engine manufacturer you’ve got a boost for qualifying when you’re within the car.
“You’ve got the lowest amount of fuel you have for the whole weekend, you’ve got the fastest engine mode, you’re the most pumped up and ready you are for that lap you’re about to approach.
“Everything feels like that little bit extra that allows you to extract that little bit more from the car and it’s such an exciting part of the weekend.”
As the drivers gear up for the Miami GP today, Hamilton claimed he had tried to speak to FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem in a bid to resolve the jewellery issue but had not managed to get in contact with him.
He said: “I am willing to sign a waiver to take the responsibility away from them if necessary.
“It is about individuality and being who you are.”
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