The British Grand Prix started with an awful crash involving a number of drivers, but Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu saw his car flip after hitting Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri. This obviously took our focus, but at the same time, protestors from the Just Stop Oil activist group ran out onto the track during the first lap. Obviously, it went no where as a red flag stopped the racing as cars hit the first corner.
Earlier in the week, Northamptonshire police warned of there being “credible intelligence” that a protest was going to take place, and 7 people were eventually arrested on the Sunday of the British Grand Prix.
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali called this “completely irresponsible and dangerous” as they “put lives in danger”, but Sebastian Vettel was more sympathetic to the reasoning behind the protest, despite damning their form of protesting.
"People obviously need to speak out & (protest) wherever they want because it’s a right" Sainz Jr who won the GP. pic.twitter.com/yACg3uXPAG
— Extinction Rebellion UK 🌍 (@XRebellionUK) July 3, 2022
The Aston Martin driver has spoken out about the environmental impact of modern living many times, and is personally searching for ways to address his concerns.
“I guess there was some talk about it, I think everybody is free to have their own view on it,” Vettel told the press.
“I think these people don’t act out of frustration, but they are desperate, and I very much sympathise with their fears and their anxieties which I think everybody who understands the size of the problem that’s drifting towards us can understand.
“On the other hand, I see the other side. There’s marshals trying to stop people from doing these kind of things. You’re risking people that are involved in the race weekend, drivers, marshals.
“So there’s two sides. I think the message was very clear and like I said, I completely sympathise with their fears and anxieties.”
Lewis Hamilton also added his thoughts, admitting that like Vettel, he was happy to see people “fighting for the planet”. He did however issue a statement to protestors about safety.
“As we’ve seen today, this is a very dangerous sport,” Hamilton posted to Instagram.
“I wasn’t aware of the protest today, and while I’ll always support those standing up for what they believe in, it must be done safely.
“Please don’t jump onto our race circuits to protest, we don’t want to put you in harm’s way.”
— 𝐉𝐚𝐲𝐝𝐞𝐧 | 𝐆𝐑𝟔𝟑 🏁 (@jaydenoc) July 3, 2022
The Mercedes team mirrored his thoughts, admitting that Lewis was “endorsing their right to protest but not the method that they chose, which compromised their safety and that of others”.
Carlos Sainz, who took home his first victory at the exciting Silverstone race, also showed his support for the protestors’ intentions.
“I think people have the opportunity to speak out and do manifestations wherever they want, because it’s a right.
“I just don’t believe jumping into a Formula 1 track is the best way to do it, and putting yourself at risk and all the other drivers.
“So yes, I support the cause, I think Formula 1 is doing a great job already to try and go carbon zero by 2030. And we are pushing on this area and we are pushing F1 and pushing the FIA to find ways to go in this direction.
“I just don’t believe jumping into a Formula 1 track is the right way to manifest yourself and protest.
“You have to be a bit more careful because you could get killed and you could generate an accident.”
— WTF1 (@wtf1official) July 3, 2022