Lewis Hamilton condemns Hungary's 'cowardly' anti-LGBTQ+ laws

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Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton has criticised Hungary's anti-LGBTQ+ laws ahead of Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.

Hungary has introduced a law limiting the discussion of homosexuality and transgender issues in schools. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said Hungary will hold a referendum on the issue by early 2022 at the latest.

The issue gained international attention during Euro 2020, when UEFA denied a request from Munich mayor Dieter Reiter to light up the Allianz Arena in rainbow colours ahead of a game against Hungary.

Hamilton, a seven-time world champion and eight-time winner of the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest, posted in support of the country's LGBTQ+ community ahead of this year's edition of the race.

He wrote: "To all in this beautiful country Hungary. Ahead of the Grand Prix this weekend, I want to share my support for those affected by the governments' 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. 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.

"Please show love for those around you because Love will always win. Sending positivity. #lgbtq"

Hamilton has been vocal about social issues in recent years. Since the start of the 2020 season, he has taken the knee ahead of every F1 race and worn various social and environmental messages on his shirt.

He's also started the Hamilton Commission, looking at the lack of diversity in motor racing. He has also pledged £20 million to a new charity, Mission 44, aimed at empowering young people from under-represented groups in the U.K..

Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel, a four-time world champion, arrived at the Budapest paddock with a rainbow strip on his trainers.

Vettel also spoke out against the legislation.

"Everybody's free to do what they want and exactly that I guess is the point," Vettel said. "So I find it embarrassing for a country that is in the European Union having to vote or having some laws like this as part of their constitution, whatever.

"I just think we've had so many opportunities to learn in the past and I can't understand why you're struggling to see everybody should be free to do what they like, love who they like and it's along the lines of 'live and let live'.

"So it's obviously not for us to make the law, that's not our role, but I think just to express the support for obviously those who are affected by it."