Formula One F1 – Australian Grand Prix – Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia – April 10, 2022 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during the drivers parade before the race REUTERS/Martin Keep

MELBOURNE, April 10 (Reuters) – Seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton responded defiantly on Sunday after Formula One reminded drivers that jewellery cannot be worn during races.

New race director Niels Wittich wrote in pre-race Australian Grand Prix notes that “the wearing of jewellery in the form of body piercing or metal neck chains is prohibited during the competition”.

Hamilton, the sport’s most successful driver, told reporters after finishing fourth for Mercedes in Melbourne that he would not be shedding his ear piercings and a nose stud.

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“I don’t have any plans on removing (them),” said the 37-year-old.

“I feel there are personal things. You should be able to be who you are,” he added.

“There is stuff that I can’t move. I literally can’t even take these out. These ones on my right ear, they are literally welded in so I have to get them chopped off or something like that. So they will be staying.”

The ban on wearing jewellery during the race is for safety reasons and is set out in Appendix L of the FIA’s International Sporting Code. While not new, it has not been rigorously enforced.

The topic was also raised at a drivers’ briefing on Friday along with a discussion about the requirement for flame-resistant underwear.

“I certainly won’t be checking our drivers underwear for compliance,” joked Red Bull team boss Christian Horner when the subject was raised on Saturday.

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Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Ed Osmond

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