Sebastian Vettel has sympathy with ‘desperate’ F1 protesters but says marshals and drivers were put ‘at risk’

Seven people were arrested after invading the track on the first lap of the British Grand Prix on Sunday

Environment protester clashes with Ed Balls on GMB over what 'genocide' means

Sebastian Vettel has expressed his sympathy with the protestors who ran onto the track during the opening lap of the British Grand Prix - but added that they put drivers and marshals at risk with their actions.

The protestors, from the Just Stop Oil activist group, sat down on the Wellington straight during lap one, with the race red flagged just before the cars reached the group after Guanyu Zhou’s crash seconds earlier at Abbey.

Northamtonshire police say seven people - five men aged between 21 and 46 and two women, 20 and 44 - are still in custody after being arrested following the incident and climate activist Vettel agreed with the tone of their message.

“I guess there was some talk about it, I think everybody is free to have their own view on it,” four-time world champion Vettel said after the race.

“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.”

The local authorities appealed to the group not to invade the race track last Thursday, after receving “credible intelligence” that a protest was planned for Sunday at Silverstone.

Lewis Hamilton said he “loves people fighting for the planet” after being told of the protest but later added that such protests “must be done safely.”

After originally quipping “big up the protestors”, Hamilton later elaborated: “I didn’t know what the protest was for and I’ve only just found out.

Protestors were removed from the Silverstone circuit in Sunday’s British Grand Prix (Helena Hicks/PA)

“I just said ‘big up the protestors.’ I love that people are fighting for the planet. We need more people like them.”

Hamilton later put up a post on his Instagram story, saying: “As we’ve seen today, this is a very dangerous sport. I wasn’t aware of the protests today and while I’ll always support those standing up for what they believe in, it must be done safely.

“Please don’t jump on to our race circuits to protest, we don’t want to put you in harms way.”

Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez also backed the cause but emphasised that jumping on to a live race track was not the place to raise their issues.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in