Lewis Hamilton: It’s been difficult to race during Israel-Gaza conflict

Lewis Hamilton said it's been very difficult compartmentalising the violence in Gaza

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Lewis Hamilton admitted it’s been difficult doing his job as a Formula 1 driver knowing about the bloodshed in Gaza in the conflict between Israel and Hamas since the terrorist attack on October 7.

It began when Hamas launched an attack on settlements just over the border from Gaza, but the widely condemned Israeli response has seen 10 times the number of Palestinian fatalities as Israeli ones.

Hamilton has picked up 38 points in the five races since and arriving in the United Arab Emirates for the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, 1,300 miles away from the violence on the other side of the Arabian peninsula, he was asked whether he’s thought about it inside the F1 bubble.

“Absolutely, I mean, how can you not?” Hamilton told the media, when asked if he looks at what’s going on in Gaza. “I think it’s been a very strange period for us, because we are in such a bubble here.

“We arrive at all these different places, and there’s so much positivity in our little bubble. And I think this year has been really hard to wake up each day knowing that there are thousands of kids dying and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Hamilton criticises government reaction

Lewis Hamilton celebrates his podium in the 2023 United States GP | Wolfgang Wilhelm/Mercedes F1 team

The biggest military escalation in the Palestinian conflict since the Yom Kippur War in 1973, Israel’s reprisals against civilians have sparked worldwide protests, including in London where it’s estimated half a million people took to the streets.

There was even speculation that the Abu Dhabi GP could be cancelled, but F1 confirmed it always planned to go ahead with the vent unless something drastically changed in the Middle East.

A ceasefire has finally been agreed, scheduled for Friday morning, but Hamilton also joined the discourse against the slow diplomatic reaction of the international community.

“The rest of the world just goes on as it is and it’s massively disappointing to see how countries and governments are handling it,” Hamilton added.

“And just to think where we are in 2023, with everything, through history, doesn’t look like we’ve learned anything. And so to be able to compartmentalise that and just go ahead with your job, I think is difficult.

“It’s all over social media, there’s not a moment, not a day that you don’t see something pop up on the news. And you’re just trying to remain positive through the darkest time.”

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