Defiant Hamilton protests against jewellery ban
Earlier this week, Hamilton said he was prepared to be barred from competing after the FIA amended the teams’ scrutineering submission to prohibit the wearing of body piercings, metal chains and other jewellery.
To avoid a standoff with the Mercedes driver, the FIA agreed to a two-race exemption. This gives Hamilton until the Monaco Grand Prix to take out any immovable piercings and get in line with the regulation.
Hamilton has a piercing in his nose, in his ears and another in an undisclosed part of his body which he has declined to reveal.
Asked after qualifying on Sunday whether he was satisfied with the compromise, the 37-year-old said he was disappointed and would be unwilling to comply.
“I got an exemption here, I’ll get an exemption for the rest of the year,” he said.
Hamilton arrived at Friday’s drivers press conference wearing as much jewellery as he could fit on his body – rings on all fingers, heavy neck chains and three watches – in an obvious protest of the crackdown.
Asked how he would approach the Monaco weekend, Hamilton said: “I’ll wear four watches next time.”
The fire from former Haas driver Romain Grosjean’s horrifying accident at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix is regularly cited as the kind of incident that proves the need for drivers to be in line with all safety regulations, no matter how innocuous they may seem.
However, Hamilton suggested that the FIA’s attitude towards jewellery was not motivated by safety concerns as he has worn bling whilst sitting in the cockpit of an F1 car for more than 16 years without an issue.
“When they told me about the jewellery, they said safety is everything. And I said, ‘well, what’s happened over the last 16 years?’ I’ve had jewellery for the last 16 years, so was safety not an issue back then?”
Haas driver Kevin Magnussen also questioned the new compliance checks, saying he was not a fan of having to take off his wedding ring but did not want to be fined.
“I understand what they are saying, but it is a wedding ring around your finger,” he said.
“I’ll take a little bit of extra burn on my finger to race in my wedding ring. And if something was going to happen, something bad, I would want to wear my wedding ring. It kind of feels bad to take it off.
“With something like that, like your wedding ring, let us take that responsibility. There must be somehow to remove liability,” he said.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz will lead off F1’s first race in Miami after achieving a front-row lockout.
Reigning titleholder Max Verstappen will start third after a small error cost him on his final flying lap.
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!