Lewis Hamilton’s body language says it all in meeting with FIA boss after British GP win

Lewis Hamilton was in no mood to trade niceties with FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem after his British Grand Prix win.

Despite seeing team-mate George Russell bow out early, Hamilton managed to secure first at Silverstone having only achieved one podium finish in 2024 before Sunday’s race. The 39-year-old was heard sobbing over the Mercedes radio after crossing the finish line, then shared a touching embrace with his father and engineers immediately afterwards.

It’s well-known the seven-time Formula 1 world champion isn’t exactly a major proponent of Ben Sulayem, the head of motorsport for the past two-and-a-half years. But even their unexpected encounter couldn’t spoil the Mercedes star’s first F1 victory since the 2021 Saudi Arabian GP.

Lewis Hamilton and Mohammed ben Sulayem handshake after 2024 British GP

Hamilton had barely stepped off the post-race weighing scales when Ben Sulayem approached him for a handshake. However, it was evident from Hamilton’s body language that he was keen to move on.

The Silver Arrows superstar barely extended his own hand in response or even looked at Ben Sulayem as he stood before the driver. He brushed past the FIA chief’s shoulder before engaging in a much warmer exchange with Red Bull rival Max Verstappen.

Back in March, Hamilton gave a scathing appraisal of Ben Sulayem after the FIA launched an investigation into Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff and his wife, Susie, who runs the F1 Academy. The allegations suggested the Wolffs were responsible for divulging confidential details between Toto’s team and Formula One Management – which owns F1 and the F1 academy – but were quickly dropped without explanation, resulting in Susie launching a criminal complaint in response.

When Hamilton was asked if Ben Sulayem had his support as FIA president, he said: “He never has.” Following this, the seven-time world champion elaborated his views on how various issues pertinent to F1 are being managed by the FIA, particularly given the criticisms they’ve been subject to.

Lewis Hamilton and Mohammed ben Sulayem handshake after 2024 British GP
The seven-time world champion barely looked at Ben Sulayem despite his approach 
Image:


Sky Sports F1)
“There is a real lack of accountability here, within this sport, within the FIA,” he continued. “There are things that are happening behind closed doors, there is no transparency, there is really no accountability and we need that. The fans need that. How can you trust the sport and what is happening here if you don’t have that?”

Ex-rally driver Ben Sulayem succeeded F1 icon Jean Todt as FIA shot-caller. His term has been tainted by controversy, including claims of historic sexism and criticism for the FIA’s handling (or mishandling) of the investigation into the highly contentious 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

(L to R) Max Veratappen, Peter Bonnington, Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris at Silverstone
Hamilton’s win was his first since 2021 


Image:
Getty)

In March 2024, Ben Sulayem was again subject to scrutiny when the FIA confirmed it had received two whistleblower reports just before the start of the new season. One suggested he had attempted to cancel the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, while another accused him of meddling in last year’s Saudi Arabian GP, though he was later exonerated after an investigation.

Even with his helmet on, it wasn’t hard to gauge how Mercedes’ star driver Hamilton felt about the FIA chief. The Silver Arrows star will hope to have more opportunities to top up his win tally this season, though he may not look forward to any more run-ins with Ben Sulayem.

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