Sports

Lewis Hamilton receives two-race exemption at Miami GP after jewellery spat

Seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton will race in Sunday’s inaugural Miami Grand Prix after Formula 1 swerved a showdown with the Mercedes driver over their ban on piercings and jewellery.

Race director Niels Wittich had issued a reminder to all teams and officials that wearing body piercings and metal neck chains was prohibited during competition for safety reasons and could be checked.

Hamilton, the sport’s most successful driver and biggest name in America, has said he cannot remove some of his piercings and had suggested on Friday that he could face a ban from racing.

“If they stop me [racing] then so be it. We’ve got a spare driver,” he said.

“There’s lots to do in the city anyway so I’ll be good either way.”

But Hamilton’s team did produce the documentation to the FIA saying they were in compliance with the rule, with a source telling Reuters that he would not wear any jewellery and had been given a two-race exemption for his body piercing.

Hamilton had given no indication that he was in the mood for a compromise when he attended the pre-race press conference wearing rings on every finger, three large watches (set to different time zones), a bangle, strings of thick necklaces and studs in both ears.

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A further nose piercing was hidden by his face mask.

“I couldn’t get any more jewellery on today,” he said, adding that he felt the clampdown was almost a backward step at a time when the sport and governing FIA should be focused on its latest big breakthrough in America.

Asked what the solution might be to an apparent impasse, Hamilton indicated there was only so much he could do.

“I can’t remove at least two of them,” he said. “One I can’t really explain where it is.

“But what I can say is it’s platinum that I have, so it’s non-magnetic, it’s never been a safety issue in the past. I’ve had in 16 years so many MRI scans and not had to take out the platinum.”

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