Six-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton says he is disappointed with the comments of fellow legends Mario Andretti and Jackie Stewart, who have moved to play-down the issue of racism in the sport.
A vocal supporter of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, Hamilton has urged F1 to do more to combat racism and effect meaningful change to diversity in motorsport.
However in an interview with Chilean newspaper El Mercurio last week, Andretti questioned the need for displays such as the ones involving Hamilton and NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace.
“I wish politics didn’t get mixed up with sport. There’s a time and a place to express your opinions. What happened in NASCAR with Bubba Wallace became bigger than it should be.
“What seemed to be a terrible situation was finally not. It was disproportionate and without reason. That happens when you think about politics before anything else.”
“It’s the same thing. I have a lot of respect for Lewis, but why become a militant? He’s always been accepted and he’s earned everyone’s respect.
“I think the whole point of this is pretentious. I feel that way. And it’s creating a problem that doesn’t exist.
“I’ve met drivers from different backgrounds, races, and I’ve always welcomed them with open arms. In motor racing it doesn’t matter what color you are; you have to earn your place with results, and that’s the same for everyone.”
In response, Hamilton took to Instagram call out the 1978 world champion on his perceived ignorance.
“This is disappointing but unfortunately a reality that some of the older generation who still have a voice today cannot get out of their own way and acknowledge there is a problem,” he wrote.
“Again, this is plain ignorance but that will not stop me from continuing to push for change. It is never too late to learn and I hope that this man who I’ve always had respect for can take the time to educate himself.”
In a second post, Hamilton commented on an interview in which three-time champ Stewart, said that he didn’t “think there’s as big a problem [with racism in F1] as there might seem.”
“Again, another one.” Hamilton wrote. “Just disappointing.”