Lewis Hamilton backtracks on promise to pull out of Miami Grand Prix over jewellery after removing his earrings in a medical examination… with seven-time champion granted a two-race exemption to keep studs he claims cannot be removed easily in place
- Lewis Hamilton wore eight rings, four necklaces and three watches among his jewellery for his media duties
- He then agreed to a medical examination at the track and then whipped out his earrings prior to first practice
- It now leaves only a nose stud, and possibly another appendage in an unidentified part of his anatomy
- FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem wants to enforce a long-standing ban on jewellery in the cockpit
Lewis Hamilton backed down over his promise to boycott the Miami Grand Prix — by removing all the jewellery he could.
Only three hours earlier, the seven-time world champion said he would pull out of the event if Formula One’s ruling FIA insisted he take off his earrings and studs.
In a defiant statement of intent, he had worn eight rings, four necklaces, three watches, two bracelets, two earrings and a nose stud while undertaking his media duties in the underbelly of the Hard Rock Stadium.
Lewis Hamilton backed down over his promise to boycott the Miami Grand Prix — by removing all the jewellery he could
Hamilton’s initial stance put him at odds with FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem, who has instructed officials in America to enforce a long-standing ban on jewellery in the cockpit. The rule has not been applied throughout Hamilton’s career.
Although Ben Sulayem cites safety concerns, some observers feel the crusade is an ad hominem attack on Hamilton, the sport’s most extravagant jewellery wearer. Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel said he believed his British rival was being targeted.
Race director Niels Wittich, who insisted on the ban in the DTM series he previously governed, is in alignment with his president. They laid out their position in a scrutineering document published on Thursday night. To which Hamilton replied: ‘If they stop me then so be it. We’ve got a spare driver. We’re well prepped for the weekend. There’s lots to do in the city anyway, so it will be good either way.’
Nyck de Vries, a 27-year-old Dutchman who competes in Formula E, was on standby. But Hamilton, in a swift U-turn, agreed to a medical examination at the track and then whipped out his earrings prior to first practice, leaving in only a nose stud, and possibly another appendage in an unidentified part of his anatomy.
In a defiant statement of intent, he wore eight rings, four necklaces, three watches, two bracelets, two earrings and a nose stud to undertake his media duties in the underbelly of the Hard Rock Stadium
He says these studs cannot be removed easily and has been granted a two-race exemption to keep them in place while he looks into possible solutions.
He had previously claimed his earrings were also permanent — an argument that has now been shown up as hollow.
The FIA insisted: ‘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.’
They added: ‘The wearing of jewellery underneath the required flameproof clothing can reduce the protection afforded by this equipment. Metallic objects, such as jewellery, in contact with the skin can reduce heat transmission protection and thus may increase the risk of burn injuries in the event of a fire.
Hamilton’s initial stance put him at odds with FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem, who has instructed his officials to enforce a long-standing ban on jewellery in the cockpit
But Hamilton, in a swift U-turn, agreed to a medical examination at the track and then whipped out his earrings
‘The wearing of jewellery during the competition can hinder both medical interventions as well as subsequent diagnosis and treatment should it be required following an accident.
‘The presence of jewellery can slow, due to the risk of ‘snagging’, the emergency removal of driver safety equipment such as helmet, balaclava and overalls.
‘In the case that medical imaging is required to inform diagnosis following an accident the presence of jewellery on the body can cause significant complication and delay. In the worst case the presence of jewellery during imaging may cause further injury.
‘Jewellery in and/or around the airway can pose specific additional risks should it become dislodged and either ingested or inhaled.’
Hamilton rang Ben Sulayem on Friday at home in Dubai to discuss the matter, but did not get through, at least at that stage.
It leaves in only a nose stud, and possibly another appendage in an unidentified part of the seven-time champion’s anatomy
Earlier, while still defiant, the Briton, who is 58 points adrift of leader Charles Leclerc after four disappointing races, said: ‘The jewellery debate is almost a step backwards when you think about the progress we are making as a sport. There are more important issues we need to be focusing on. We are here in Miami and this is such a small thing.
‘I can’t remove at least two of them. One, I can’t explain where it is. But it’s platinum, so it’s not magnetic. It’s never been a safety issue in the past. I’ve had it in for 16 years. I’ve had many MRI scans and not had to take out the platinum.
‘I am willing to sign a waiver to take the responsibility away from the FIA if I need to. It is about individuality and being who you are. I sent Mohammed a message to reassure him that I want to be an ally and I don’t want to fight with him over this. I will try to speak to him before the race.’
A fortnight ago, Red Bull’s motorsport adviser Helmet Marko mused that Hamilton probably wished he had retired at the end of last season. The 37-year-old countered: ‘It has been interesting to see quite a lot of disrespectful comments. Yes, we are going through a tough time but we are fighters and if you don’t realise that about me you don’t know me.’
The Briton is 58 points adrift of leader Charles Leclerc after four disappointing races to start the current campaign
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