Both the song and group are LGBTQ+ icons, with Hamilton’s comments coming after he posted his opposition to Hungary’s upcoming referendum on a new anti-LGBTQ+ law earlier this week – although he did not specifically state that his reference to YMCA following qualifying at Budapest was a continuation of his support for the LGBTQ+ community in Hungary.
The Mercedes driver claimed pole on his first run in Q3 at the Hungaroring, with his second effort ending up 2.335s slower as he paid the price for a warm-up lap that “definitely wasn’t perfect”, meaning his front tyres were not at the desired temperature.
When asked how pleased he was to take pole on the first Q3 run on Saturday, which secured his eighth pole in Budapest, Hamilton replied: “That first run, the lap, it really felt beautiful.
“It was a real build-up of a lot of qualifying sessions. You sometimes get your best lap in Q2 or something like that. It never goes always to plan.
“But today, I got the best lap [in] Q3, round one, so I really, really happy with it.
“I had the song ‘YMCA’ just on my mind the whole session. I’m not really sure why.
“I hadn’t really been listening to it, but that’s what sort of motivates today. I guess as well for the weekend. It’s a great song.”
After Hamilton’s statement in support of Hungary’s LGBTQ+ community ahead of the weekend, Judit Varga, the Hungarian minister of Justice, responded to the world champion’s words with an incendiary Facebook post that stated, amongst other comments, “I regret to see” Hamilton’s own post.
Hamilton has not been alone in F1 and its support series in making clear his opposition to the law implemented last month that prevents the depiction and teaching of homosexuality or transgender issues to under 18s in Hungary.
Many F1 and support paddock figures are openly displaying the rainbow flag at this weekend’s event, including Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel, who said on Thursday that he finds it “embarrassing for a country who is in the European Union having to vote, having some laws like this as part of their [legislation]”.