Lewis Hamilton flaunts, blasts FIA crackdown with his jewelry prominently displayed

FIA Lewis Hamilton jewelry
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MIAMI GARDENS, Florida — Lewis Hamilton turned up Friday at the Miami Grand Prix wearing every piece of jewelry he could fit on his body, an apparent protest of a crackdown on body piercings by the FIA motorsports governing organization.

“I couldn’t get any more jewelry on today,” the seven-time world champion said.

Hamilton arrived in the paddock wearing an all-denim outfit with several open buttons on his long-sleeved shirt that showed at least four stacked necklaces. Hamilton later emerged in his Mercedes shirt wearing at least three watches and with four rings on each hand. He also has earrings and a nose ring, and said some of the piercings cannot be removed.

The FIA on Thursday tightened its ban on non-regulatory underwear and body piercings by making it part of official scrutineering, meaning such choices are subject to review by race officials.

Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel said he thought FIA was being petty and wondered if the rule was specific for Hamilton.

“I think it is a bit unnecessary to blow this topic up and probably at this stage is more of a personal thing, I feel a particular way targeted to Lewis,” Vettel said. “In a way, there’s a concern for safety, obviously if you have stuff and the car does catch fire. To some degrees, there is personal freedom and we are old enough to make our own choices.”

It isn’t the first time Hamilton and the FIA have clashed over appearance. Hamilton wore a Breonna Taylor shirt in an anti-racism display before and after a September 2020 victory at Mugello, prompting the FIA to consider whether to sanction the superstar, who is the most high-profile driver in F1 (and has spent the week hanging with Tom Brady and other U.S. celebrities).

The governing body for Formula One said drivers may be subjected to checks ahead of the competition because “the wearing of jewelry underneath the required flameproof clothing can reduce the protection afforded by this equipment.”

“Metallic objects, such as jewelry 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,” the FIA wrote. “The wearing of jewelry during the competition can hinder both medical interventions as well as subsequent diagnosis and treatment should it be required following an accident.”

The FIA said jewelry can snag during emergency removal from a car, and can also complicate or delay medical imagining.

“In the worst case, the presence of jewelry during imaging may cause further injury,” the FIA wrote. “Jewelry in and/or around the airway can pose specific additional risks should it become dislodged during an accident and either ingested or inhaled.”

Hamilton has been pushing back since the FIA first announced a potential clampdown and on Friday said he’d sign a waiver assuming all responsibility. He said he has worn his bling while competing for 16 years in F1 without an issue, and also undergone numerous medical imaging sessions also while wearing his jewelry.

Hamilton said he sent new FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem (who has toured Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Daytona International Speedway this week) a message before arriving at the track noting the jewelry fight seemed silly in the big picture and that “I don’t want to fight with you guys, ever.”

He said he hoped for further discussions with Sulayem and the FIA, but sounded prepared to hold his ground.

“If they stop me, then so be it,” Hamilton said. “We’ve got spare drivers ready and prepped for weekends. There’s lots of things going on in the city, anyway, so I’ll be good either way.”

Miguel Oliveira wins MotoGP Thai Grand Prix, Bagnaia closes to two points in championship

MotoGP Thai Grand Prix
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Miguel Oliveira mastered mixed conditions on the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand to win the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix. Oliveira showed the adaptability as he navigated a race that began in wet conditions and turned dry over the course of the race. Oliveira won the Indonesian GP in similar conditions.

“It was a long race, but I can’t complain,” Oliveira said on CNBC. “Every time we get to ride in the wet, I’m always super-fast. When it started raining, I had flashbacks of Indonesia. I tried to keep my feet on the ground, make a good start and not make mistakes and carry the bike to the end.”

All eyes were on the championship, however. Francesco Bagnaia got a great start to slot into second in Turn 1.

Meanwhile Fabio Quartararo had a disastrous first lap. He lost five positions in the first couple of turns and then rode over the rumble strips and fell back to 17th. At the end of the first lap, Bagnaia had the points’ lead by two. A win would have added to the gain and for a moment, it appeared Bagnaia might assume the lead.

Early leader Marco Bezzecchi was penalized for exceeding track limits, but before that happened, Jack Miller got around Bagnaia and pushed him back to third. Oliveira was not far behind.

After throwing away ninth-place and seven points on the last lap of the Japanese GP last week, Bagnaia did not allow the competition to press him into a mistake. He fell back as far as fourth before retaking the final position on the podium.

“It’s like a win for me, this podium,” Bagnaia. “My first podium in the wet and then there was a mix of conditions, so I’m very happy. I want to thank Jack Miller. Before the race, he gave me a motivational chat.”

Miller led the first half of the Thai Grand Prix before giving up the top spot to Oliveira and then held on to finish second. Coupled with his Japanese GP win, Miller is now fully in the MotoGP championship battle with a 40-point deficit, but he will need a string of results like Bagnaia has put together in recent weeks – and he needs Bagnaia to lose momentum.

Miller’s home Grand Prix in Australia is next up on the calendar in two weeks.

Bagnaia entered the race 18 points behind Quartararo after he failed to score any in Japan. The balance of power has rapidly shifted, however, with Quartararo now failing to earn points in two of the last three rounds. Bagnaia won four consecutive races and finished second in the five races leading up to Japan. His third-place finish in Thailand is now his sixth MotoGP podium in the last seven rounds.

Aleix Espargaro entered the race third in the standings with a 25-point deficit to Quartararo, but was able to close the gap by only five after getting hit with a long-lap penalty for aggressive riding when he pushed Darryn Binder off course during a pass for position. Espargaro finished 11th.

Rain mixed up the Moto2 running order in the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix as well. Starting on a wet track, Somkiat Chantra led the opening lap in his home Grand Prix. He could not hold onto it and crashed one circuit later, but still gave his countrymen a moment of pride by winning the pole.

Half points were awarded as the race went only eight laps before Tony Arbolino crossed under the checkers first with Filip Salac and Aron Canet rounding out the podium.

American Joe Roberts earned another top-10 in eighth with Sean Dylan Kelly finishing just outside the top 10 in 11th.