By Alan Baldwin

SILVERSTONE, England (Reuters) – Seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton said he would support a peaceful protest at the British Grand Prix this weekend as Formula One drivers voiced fears of environmental activists invading the track.

Six “Just Stop Oil” campaigners ran on to the track after an opening-lap crash at last year’s race and the same group has disrupted cricket, horse racing, rugby, snooker and tennis in recent months.

Protesters scattered orange powder on the outfield at Lord’s during the second Ashes cricket test in June and interrupted play on the third day of Wimbledon on Wednesday.

Asked at Silverstone whether he would support a protest that did not involve a track invasion, Hamilton, who has previously expressed sympathy with the cause, replied: “Yes. I support peaceful protests.”

The Mercedes driver said everyone “was naturally hoping that we’ve learnt a lot from last year’s experience and that won’t happen this weekend.

“I believe we have 100 more marshals this weekend, which are there to be supportive and make sure this doesn’t happen as well.

“At least from my perspective and my team’s we are very focused on sustainability, we believe in what people are fighting for and we are making those changes as a sport.

“But safety is key. We don’t want to be put in harm’s way and we don’t want to put anyone else in harm’s way. So if there was to be one (a protest) we hope that it’s not on track.”

Williams driver Alex Albon said there was “quite a high chance of something happening this weekend” and it was a concern.

“I think a pitch invasion is one thing but obviously with cars and moving parts it gets a bit more dangerous,” said the Thai. “We just have to be prepared for it.”

Organisers expect a capacity crowd of 150,000 on race Sunday.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Clare Fallon)

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