Lewis Hamilton pledges £250,000 to aid fight against Australia bushfire crisis

Lewis Hamilton has pledged to donate over £250,000 to support the fire service and animal welfare charities which have been affected by the devastating fires in Australia.

Formula 1 champion Hamilton, who won his record-equalling sixth world title in 2019, says he has been "saddened deeply" by the tragic event, in which 27 people have lost their lives.

The Australian state of Victoria has again declared a state of disaster. Despite an ongoing national bushfire crisis since September, the south-eastern state is only now entering what is considered to be its worst fire months.

Over one billion animals have also died, and blazes in Victoria have already burnt 1.2million hectares.

Fires continue to endanger lives and homes in South Australia and New South Wales, where more than 1,300 houses have already been destroyed.

In a message posted on Instagram and Twitter, 35 year-old Hamilton urged Australia to "keep fighting".


Alongside a video of a koala bear being rescued, the Mercedes driver wrote: "It saddens me deeply to know that over 1 billion animals in Australia died a painful death, no way out, not their fault.

"My love of animals is no secret and I can't help but grieve for the defenceless animals thought to have died so far, pushing certain species closer to extinction.

"I'm lucky enough to visit Australia often and I know first-hand how beautiful the country is.

"Keep fighting Australia. I've spent some time speaking to people in Australia who are working at the heart of this and I'm filled with admiration for everything they are doing.

"I implore you to join me in thinking about the impact we are having on our planet. Let's work together to make small changes, and encourage our family and friends to do the same, so we can help shift the direction we're going in."

Hamilton says the $500,000 [Australian], which equates to around £262,000, will go to WIRES Wildlife Rescue, WWF Australia and the Rural Fire Service.

Renault's Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo has used social media to urge people to donate and said his country was "suffering".

Australia tennis star Nick Kyrgios will lead a 'Rally for Relief' charity tournament at Melbourne Park on January 15, featuring the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, to raise money for bushfire victims.

Naomi Osaka, Caroline Wozniaki and Stefanos Tsitsipas will also take part in the event, while Kyrgios has pledged $200 for every ace he hits at upcoming tournaments.

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