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German Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel has been reprimanded for not removing his Pride t-shirt during the national anthem at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The motor racing competition took place Sunday (1 August) in Budapest, Hungary, where a new law bans the portrayal of LGBT+ people in media, school materials and advertisements.
According to Reuters, Aston Martin’s Vettel was wearing a rainbow top that read “same love”, while three other drivers – Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Vettel’s teammate Lance Stroll – were wearing t-shirts that declared: “We race as one.”
The drivers are required to wear just their racing suits during the national anthem at the Hungarian Grand Prix, according to race director Michael Masi, and so each driver was given non-driving reprimands for their “failure to follow the instructions of the relevant officials for the safe and orderly conduct of the event”.
“I heard it’s because I left my shirt on for the national anthem,” Vettel said, according to AutoSport.
“I’m happy if they disqualify me. They can do whatever they want to me, I don’t care. I would do it again.”
All of the drivers wearing Pride t-shirts claimed they had forgotten to take them off because it had been raining. Vettel finished second in the race, but was disqualified because a sufficient fuel sample could not be taken from his car. Aston Martin is appealing the decision.
Formula One stars Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton have been outspoken about the anti-LGBT+ Hungarian law
Arriving in Hungary on Thursday (29 July) ahead of the Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel was spotted wearing trainers emblazoned with rainbow Pride colours.
Vettel said: “I just think we’ve had so many opportunities to learn in the past, and I can’t understand why you are struggling to see that everybody should be free to do what they like, love who they like. It’s along the lines of live and let live.
“So it’s obviously not for us to make the law, and that’s not our role. But I think just to express the support for those who are affected by it [is].”
“To all in this beautiful country Hungary,” he wrote on Instagram Thursday (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.”