Race car driver Lewis Hamilton has blasted Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis over the state’s “don’t say gay” law ahead of a rare Formula One race in Miami this weekend.
He compared the treatment of LGBTQ+ people in Florida to how queer people are treated in Saudi Arabia — which criminalizes homosexuality.
“It’s not good at all,” Hamilton, 38, said, the Associated Press reports. “I stand by those within the community here. I hope they continue to stand firm and push back. I’ll have the rainbow on my helmet. It’s no different to when we were in Saudi.”
Hamilton’s comments come as the racing league comes to the U.S. for three stops. Formula One has become more and more popular in the U.S. The other races will take place in Austin, Texas, and Las Vegas.
The British racer, who is the only Black driver in the league, often speaks out in support of human rights, including LGBTQ+ rights.
When racing in anti-LGBTQ+ countries, Hamilton is known to wear a rainbow flag on his helmet. He wore it in a race in Saudi Arabia in 2021.
He didn’t say if the league shouldn’t race in the state.
“It’s not for me to decide something like that,” Hamilton explained. “I did hear and have read about some of the decisions that have been made in government here and I do not agree with it and I do not support it. I really do continue to stand with the LGBTQ community and I’m wearing a rainbow flag on my helmet this weekend and I just really want to continue to support the community here and let them know I stand with them and I hope they continue to fight against it.”
Hamilton said that it wasn’t the people of Miami that passed the laws.
“I think, hopefully, all I can do – the sport is going to be here whether I am or not – but the least I can do is just continue to be supportive and just being here and having that on my helmet, hopefully that speaks well to the subject,” he said.
Hamilton has won the most games in Formula One history.
DeSantis, who is expected to run for president in 2024, signed the controversial “don’t say gay” bill into law last year. It has since been expanded by his administration. On Thursday, the legislature also voted to expand it, while passing other restrictions on LGBTQ+ rights in the state.