Lewis Hamilton among four drivers to chair the Saudi Arabia meet while the stars were at odds over the upcoming race

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton met with F1 bosses during the upcoming race (Image: Getty)

Lewis Hamilton reportedly helped spark discussions about whether the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix should still go ahead after a terrorist attack.

During Friday’s practice, news broke that a missile had hit an Aramco facility 12 miles from the Jeddah circuit, setting it on fire and endangering today’s qualifying and Sunday’s race.

After team bosses assured themselves of the safety of the team and their staff, F1 released a statement confirming the race would go ahead as planned.

“Following the current situation, Formula 1 was in close contact with the responsible authorities,” the statement said.

“The authorities have confirmed that the event can go ahead as planned and we will remain in close contact with them and all teams and closely monitor the situation.”

However, not all drivers reportedly wanted to continue the race, fearing for their safety.

Sky Sports’ Craig Slater claims seven-time world champion Hamilton was a leading voice in talks with F1 bosses which ultimately resulted in the race being given the green light – although not all drivers agreed with the decision.

Smoke rises from an oil storage facility in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah on March 25, 2022. Yemeni rebels said they attacked a Saudi Aramco oil facility in Jeddah today as part of a wave of drone and rocket attacks as a huge plume of smoke was seen near the Formula One venue in the city. (Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP) (Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP via Getty Images)

Smoke rises from an oil storage facility in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (Photo: Getty)

“I know Lewis Hamilton, Carlos Sainz, Pierre Gasly and young Mick Schumacher led the debate,” Slater said.

“I can’t say they came to a unanimous decision to go ahead, but they came to a collective decision that the race should go ahead and that’s why we are where we are now.

“There would have been the potential for them to retire, they have that influence. Of course, the race didn’t go without the drivers.

“Lewis Hamilton was a huge influence on the decision that the Australian Grand Prix would not go ahead at the height of the Covid pandemic, so they have that influence.

“There may be different views among drivers, but it will continue.

“Today there is additional security around the track and in the hotels.”

BBC Sport claimed the drivers were eventually “convinced to go ahead and race after receiving more information from bosses.

“Part of that information related to the possible consequences of not racing, such as how easily teams and drivers could leave the country if the race did not take place.”

Ferrari will be hoping to build on Bahrain’s one-two in last weekend’s season opener, while reigning champion Max Verstappen is aiming for his first points of the season after having to retire the car in the previous race.

MORE: F1 confirms Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will go ahead despite nearby ‘terrorist attack’

MORE: The big questions: Jenson Button on Drive To Survive’s ‘fake’ drama, Red Bull’s Bahrain woes and Lewis Hamilton’s 2022 championship hopes

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General Sports Lewis Hamilton among four drivers to chair the Saudi Arabia meet while the stars were at odds over the upcoming race

Nate Jones

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