FIA president clarifies criticism of Hamilton and Vettel for ‘imposing their beliefs’ while Verstappen has ‘unfinished business’

FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem has clarified his criticism of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel as the Formula 1 grid heads to Azerbaijan this weekend.

Brit icon Hamilton has been outspoken about driving in countries with human rights issues, while Vettel publicly called for the need for greater LGBT+ inclusivity in motorsport this week.

Yet the duos’ campaigning ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix was the subject from apparent criticism from FIA boss Ben Sulayem.

He told Grand Prix 247: “Vettel drives a rainbow bicycle, Lewis is passionate about human rights and [Lando] Norris addresses mental health.

“Everybody has the right to think. To me, it is about deciding whether we should impose our beliefs in something over the sport all the time.”

However, the new FIA chief has since appeared to have made a u-turn, tweeting that sport can act as a ‘catalyst of progress in society’.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Date and UK start time

The race weekend at the Baku City Circuit is scheduled for Friday, June 10 to Sunday, June 12.

There will be two practices on Friday that will start from 3pm UK time with the third session at the same time on the Saturday.

Qualifying will take place at 6pm while the race itself will get underway at 12pm UK time on the Sunday.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: TV channel and live stream

Coverage will again be on Sky Sports F1 throughout the weekend. Their coverage of Sunday’s race build-up begins at 10:30am.

Sky Sports customers can live stream this via the app using their mobile, tablet or computer devices.

If not, you can purchase a Sky Sports Day Pass from NowTV for £9.99 while Channel Four will broadcast highlights later in the evening.

Skyelinks will have all of the best of the action throughout the week while will have a live blog for the race.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: What has been said?

Max Verstappen has only finished one Grand Prix in Baku before and has had three retirements to his name.

He said: “I’m looking forward to returning to Baku, we have some unfinished business there after last year.

“It’s a tricky track with big braking zones and a tight run-off, finding the best set-up for the car will be difficult in terms of making sure we get the correct wing level.

It will also be interesting to see if we can make our one lap performance better for qualifying as we’ve been lacking a little.”

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Driver Standings

Driver / Car / Points

Max Verstappen / Red Bull Racing / 125
Charles Leclerc / Ferrari / 116
Sergio Perez / Red Bull Racing / 110
George Russell / Mercedes / 84
Carlos Sainz / Ferrari / 83
Lewis Hamilton / Mercedes / 50
Lando Norris / McLaren / 48
Valtteri Bottas / Alfa Romeo / 40
Esteban Ocon / Alpine / 30
Kevin Magnussen / Haas / 15
Daniel Ricciardo / McLaren / 11
Yuki Tsounda / Alphatauri / 11
Fernando Alonso / Alpine / 10
Pierre Gasly / Alphatauri / 6
Sebastian Vettel / Aston Martin / 5
Alexander Albon / Williams / 3
Lance Stroll / Aston Martin / 2
Zhou Guanyu / Alfa Romeo / 1
Mick Schumacher / Haas / 0
Nico Hulkenberg / Aston Martin / 0
Nicholas Latifi / Williams / 0


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here