MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Lewis Hamilton often races with a rainbow sticker on his helmet and especially when he’s driving in a place where he feels LGBTQ rights are being infringed upon, including at the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in April. Florida now qualifies as such a place to the British superstar.
Hamilton, who drives the No. 44 car for Mercedes-Benz in Formula One, will don his rainbow sticker once again this weekend at the 2023 Miami Grand Prix, making a statement against the Florida Parental Rights in Education Act, often referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” Bill by critics.
“It’s not good at all,” the seven-time champion said Thursday. “I stand by those within the community here. I hope they continue to stand firm and push back. I’ll have the rainbow on my helmet. It’s no different to when we were in Saudi.”
The law, which was passed by the state legislature and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2022, severely restricts the discussion of LGBTQ topics in the classroom by barring teachers from “intentionally” teaching about sexual orientation or gender identity unless lessons are part of a reproductive health course or “expressly required” by the state. As originally passed, the law only applied to kindergarten through third grade, but the Florida Board of Education voted last month to expand these restriction to all of elementary, middle and high school, as well.
Hamilton, 38, is the only Black driver in Formula One (F1) and often uses his platform to speak out for social justice causes, especially when the F1 schedule takes him to places with questionable human rights records.
Last year, he spoke out about the Supreme Court of the United States’ looming decision to overturn Roe v. Wade when he was in Miami Gardens for the 2022 Miami Grand Prix and he hosted Michelle Obama, the former First Lady of the United States, in his pit for practice and qualifying.
“My sympathy and thoughts are with the people here in Miami,” Hamilton said. “It’s not them making the decisions. It’s the people in government and that’s the issue. The sport is going to be here whether I am here or not. While I am here, I am just going to continue to be supportive.
“I did hear and have read about some of the decisions that have been made in government here, and I do not agree with it and I do not support it. I really do continue to stand with the LGBTQ community and I’m wearing a rainbow flag on my helmet this weekend. And I just really want to continue to support the community here and let them know I stand with them and I hope they continue to fight against it.”