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By Tim COLLINGS
Platinum lode: Lewis Hamilton showing off his watches and rings at the Miami press conference. ©AFP

Miami (AFP) - After threatening to skip the inaugural Miami Grand Prix over a bling clampdown, Lewis Hamilton removed almost all his jewellery in time to drive in practice Friday.

The decision to enforce rules on jewellery and underwear had stirred controversy in the pre-practice press conferences.

Hamilton threatened to spend the weekend seeing the sites of Miami instead while Sebastian Vettel said he thought the English driver was being "targeted".

Hamilton was wearing three watches, a bracelet, necklaces and a nose stud for the press conference and said he would need to "chop my ears off" to remove his earrings.

"I couldn't get any more jewellery on," he joked.

"We have spare drivers, so we're ready and prepared for the weekend.There is lots to do in this city so, I'll be good either way!" Hamilton said of the prospect of being forced out of the race.

Yet, after making his threat, he removed most of his jewellery, including the earrings, for the practice session but scored a small victory with an exemption for the nose stud.

That exemption was reported to be for two races.

Vettel showed his feelings by wearing underpants over his race suit as a sign of protest.

Race director Niels Wittich wrote in his guidelines for Sunday's race that driver jewellery and underwear should be checked, to ensure they comply with the FIA's fire-proof safety standards.

In his race notes, Wittich wrote: "Metallic objects, such as jewellery, in contact with the skin can reduce heat transmission protection and thus may increase the risk of burn injuries in the event of a fire."

Vettel said the actions appeared to be aimed at Hamilton.

"Probably, at this stage, it's more of a personal thing and I feel in a way targeted to Lewis," said Vettel.

Aston Martin's Vettel suggested the topic was trivial.

"We spoke about underpants as well, but really is that the most exciting thing we can talk about?" he asked.

"There's a concern for safety, obviously, if you have stuff -- and if the car does catch fire it would be unpleasant.

"But, on the other hand, to some degree it's personal freedom and we are old enough to make our choices outside the car...We should be old enough also to make our choices inside the car."

Hamilton said his jewellery had never been a problem. 

"It's platinum so it's not magnetic and it's never been a safety issue.I've had so many MRI scans, for example, and I don't have to take out my platinum ones..."

He said he wore three watches because they were set to three different time zones.

Two drivers were sanctioned at last weekend's Monaco E-Prix in similar incidents, Pascal Wehrlein and Mitch Evans both taking penalty points on their 'super licences' and receiving fines of 1000 euros ($1050) each for wearing metal chains during qualifying.

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Dive Deeper:
Hamilton prepares for showdown with Grand Prix 'bling' police
Miami (AFP) - Lewis Hamilton suggested on Friday he was prepared to defy the International Automobile Federation's (FIA) jewellery clampdown,…
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel branded “childish” over FIA protests
Both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel shared their annoyance following the FIA’s decision to ban jewellery while competing on the…
Hamilton gets two-race F1 exemption from FIA over jewellery
Lewis Hamilton has received a two-race exemption from the FIA over the jewellery he cannot easily remove after holding talks…
Lewis Hamilton bows to pressure from F1 chiefs amid jewellery stance ahead of Miami GP
Lewis Hamilton will not wear ear piercings during the race in Miami this weekend, just hours after threatening to boycott…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Lewis Hamilton to remove ear piercings for Miami Grand Prix
The seven-time world champion defiantly arrived at practice wearing a large amount of jewellery but performed a U-turn after talks…
FIA makes jewellery, underwear checks part of F1 scrutineering submission
The FIA has issued a further reminder to Formula 1 teams about drivers complying with rules surrounding jewellery and underwear,…
Get all your news in one place