Lewis Hamilton underlined his opposition to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine with a heartfelt message after Friday’s pre-season test in Barcelona. The seven-time Formula One world champion has joined a number of high-profile sporting figures in speaking out against the conflict, which has captured the attention of the world since it began earlier this week.
Ukraine was invaded by land, air and sea on Thursday after Russian troops were given the green light to launch a full-scale military operation by president Vladimir Putin.
A number of world leaders have condemned Putin’s actions by accusing him of breaking international law and have hit Russia with heavy sanctions.
The sporting world has also rallied around Ukraine, with Hamilton offering his support for those caught up in the invasion with a statement made on Instagram on Friday.
The 37-year-old also voiced his admiration for the Russian citizens who have risked their personal safety to join in with nationwide protests against their country’s aggressiv actions.
“When we see injustice it is important we stand against it,” wrote Hamilton.
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“My heart goes out to all the courageous people of Ukraine who are facing such terrible attacks for simply choosing a better future.
“I stand with the Russian citizens who oppose this violence and seek peace, often at risk to their own freedom.
“Please stay safe everyone. We are praying for you.”
The ongoing conflict in Ukraine, which is believed to have claimed several hundred lives on both sides, has already had a major impact on the upcoming F1 season.
This year’s Russian Grand Prix was cancelled on Friday after a crunch meeting between team bosses was held in Barcelona on Thursday evening.
Meanwhile, Haas responded to the situation by wiping all Uralkali branding from their cars amid questions over whether their sponsorship deal with the Russian firm will be cut short in the wake of recent events.
The American-owned team chose to run a plain white livery on track in Barcelona at Friday’s pre-season test.
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner went on to reveal that meetings over whether to continue their partnership with Uralkali will take place over the coming days.
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The 56-year-old also refused to confirm the fate of Russian driver Nikita Mazepin, who appears to be facing the sack if the lucrative sponsorship deal is cancelled.
Mazepin’s father, Dmitry, part-owns Uralkali and reportedly met with Putin to discuss the impending sanctions on Russia earlier this week.
“It needs to be resolved,” Steiner told reporters when quizzed on Mazepin’s future.
“Not everything depends from us here what is happening. There’s governments involved, I have no power over them, and we also need to see how the situation develops in Ukraine.”