Lewis Hamilton backed in F1 jewellery row as driver chief says FIA could have taken 'different approach'
The Mercedes driver has become embroiled in a bitter row with the sport over his piercings
Lewis Hamilton has been backed by the head of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association in a row over jewellery.
Lewis Hamilton has told Formula One’s rulers that he will not remove his nose piercing for the rest of the season.
The seven-time world champion appeared to adhere to the FIA’s jewellery cockpit clampdown by taking out his earrings for the Miami Grand Prix – hours after wearing a plethora of jewellery during a pre-race press conference. He even suggested he could withdraw from the grand prix in protest.
Hamilton was talked out of that specific threat following a discussion with FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem and a meeting with the FIA’s president of the medical commission, Dr Sean Petherbridge, on Friday.
The 37-year-old said he would remove his earrings and was handed a two-race medical exemption for his nose stud which cannot be easily taken out.
Head of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association and a former driver himself, Alexander Wurz, called for a different approach to the disagreement.
Former Benetton driver Wurz said: "It is a rule for the right reasons.
"I would have probably liked a slightly different approach of how to deliver the message."
He added: "I don't want to end up in football where there are more hands in the air and verbal abuse... you have to work together. It's a style I would have preferred in this case."
Hamilton has insisted he would not remove the nose piercing when his exemption expires at the Monaco Grand Prix on May 29.
It means Hamilton faces a sanction from the FIA – likely to be in the form of a fine, or points on his licence.
“No, [I am not going to do it], ” said Hamilton when asked if he was going to take out his nose stud.
“I got an exemption here and I will get exemptions for the rest of the year. Wedding rings are allowed. I will wear four watches next time.”
The ban on drivers wearing jewellery in the cockpit has been in place for a number of years. But the ruling is now being strictly enforced by new F1 race director Niels Wittich and Ben Sulayem on the grounds of safety.
But Hamilton added: “This whole safety thing, man. When they told me about the jewellery, they said safety is everything. And I said, ‘Well, what’s happened for the last 16 years? I’ve had jewellery on for 16 years, so was safety not an issue back then?’”
Hamilton’s remarks are in stark contrast to those of Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, who appeared to suggest his driver and the FIA would reach an understanding.
“What was needed was a dialogue between Lewis and Mohammed,” he said.
“It is clear that regulations are here to protect the drivers, but on the other side we need diversity and the means of expressing yourself and we know that this is important to Lewis.
“Without going into detail – where the piercings stayed and where they didn’t – I am sure they will come to a good resolution.”
Hamilton will head into the fifth round of the new campaign 58 points behind championship leader Charles Leclerc, who starts on pole for Ferrari.
Hamilton has struggled to get on top of his under-performing machinery this season but out-qualified team-mate George Russell on Saturday. Russell starts 12th.
“I’m generally really happy with the job I did today,” added Hamilton. “I did the best I could with the car that I had. It’s a very hard car to drive.”