Sebastian Vettel on Sunday was in no mood for questions about his suddenly-missing “climate crime” helmet.
Earlier in Montreal, the quadruple world champion was slammed by Alberta’s energy minister Sonya Savage after Vettel blasted the mining of “tar sands”.
He had ridden a rainbow-coloured bicycle into the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve paddock with a custom-made t-shirt blasting “Canada’s climate crime”.
Vettel, 34, then practiced and qualified with a corresponding helmet that told Canada to “stop mining tar sands”.
Minister Savage accused the German of hypocrisy as a gas-guzzling Formula 1 driver “with financing from Saudi Aramco”, a company “with the largest daily oil production of all companies in the world”.
“It is reputed to be the single largest contributor to global carbon emissions, of any company, since 1965,” she added.
Suddenly, and without explanation, Vettel reverted to his usual white helmet with German colours for Sunday’s Canadian GP.
When asked about that by the German broadcaster RTL, the Aston Martin driver answered: “Are there any other questions?”
Vettel also told Sky Deutschland: “I don’t want to say anything about that now but I always have more than one helmet.”
Aston Martin boss Mike Krack denied that Vettel had been ordered to drop the offending helmet.
“He wanted to use the helmet and the t-shirt to draw attention to the topic,” he said. “At some point he decided that the attention had been drawn.
“Like you and me, he doesn’t wear the same t-shirt every day,” Krack laughed.
“You’ve seen in the past that such campaigns mainly take place on Friday and Saturday, but of course he’s free to make his own decisions. He’s a free man.”
Vettel, meanwhile, hit out at Minister Savage for making his climate activism “personal”.
“I’m a little bit disappointed that politicians to go the personal level because this is not about me, not at all. It’s about the bigger picture,” said Vettel.
“Yes, I am a hypocrite doing what I do for a living or doing what I love but there are solutions for the future to make it more sustainable.”