Lewis Hamilton slams ‘cowardly’ Hungarian attack on LGBT+ rights ahead of Grand Prix in Budapest

Formula One champions Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have slammed the “cowardly” Hungarian government over its “LGBT+ propaganda” law.

Ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, the duo laced into the much-reviled law that critics say compares homosexuality to paedophilia.

“To all in this beautiful country Hungary,” Lewis Hamilton wrote on Instagram Thursday morning (29 July).

“Ahead of the Grand Prix this weekend, I want to share my support for those affected by the government’s anti-LGBTQ+ law.

“It is unacceptable, cowardly and misguiding for those in power suggest such a law. Everyone deserves to have the freedom to be themselves, no matter who they love or how they identify.”

Amid heaving criticism, Hungary’s government is set to launch a referendum on the topic of LGBT+ education.

This referendum, Hamilton said, is a vital chance for Hungarians to make it clear they oppose prime minister Viktor Orbán’s relentless homophobia.

“I urge the people of Hungary to vote in the upcoming referendum to protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, they need our support more than ever,” he said.

Hamilton also found support from four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel, who stepped into Hungary while wearing a pair of Pride-themed Converse.

The German racer told Autosport magazine that Hungary’s law, which bans the “promotion” of LGBT+ topics to children in schools and television, is “embarrassing”.

“It is obviously not for us to make the law and it is not our role, but I think it is to express support for those affected by it,” he said, adding that it is “embarrassing for a country who is in the EU to have to vote or have some laws like this”.

For activists, such high-decibel support from two of auto racing’s top title-holders is “poignant”.

“It is fantastic to have Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel as active allies showing solidarity with the LGBT+ community and, of course, it is particularly poignant given the situation that community faces in Hungary currently,” Racing Pride, an advocacy group that promotes inclusivity through motorsport, told PinkNews.

The group, developed in collaboration with British LGBT+ charity Stonewall, explained how it is running workshops for Formula One staffers to help fuel a culture of acceptance in the sport.

“We are delighted to see motorsport as a whole, including Formula One, engaging more than ever before with LGBT+ inclusion,” it added.

Hamilton and Vettel’s voices join the growing chorus of European leaders, EU lawmakers and officials and embattled queer Hungarians who have locked arms against Orbán’s anti-LGBT+ agenda.

The law, a series of amendments to a piece of anti-paedophilia legislation, has drawn comparisons both to Russia’s so-called “gay propaganda law” and Britain’s Section 28.

Touted as a way to shield “traditional” families, the bill places strict limits on school curriculums and television and advertising guidelines in terms of what LGBT-related content – if at all – can be shown to under-18s.

As much as Orbán has asserted that his attacks against LGBT+ rights reflect the will of the people, polling results don’t quite line up with that.

In fact, 56 per cent of Hungarians are perfectly fine with people being gay, according to a survey released in June by Zavecz Research.