Lewis Hamilton has hit out at comments from F1’s “irrelevant” older people as the Nelson Piquet race row intensifies. Hamilton attacked those who had tried to “bring him down” and called for older figures in the sport to not be given a platform to speak.
It comes after the three-time world champion Nelson Piquet used a racial slur to describe Hamilton in a Brazilian podcast interview. He has since apologised for his language and claimed the remark had no malicious intent but he has since been banned from the F1 paddock. Bernie Ecclestone came out to defend Piquet in a bombshell TV interview this morning, claiming Hamilton should brush the abuse aside.
Hamilton responded to the criticism in today’s drivers’ press conference, explaining: “We should not be giving these people a platform, these old voices, whether they are subconscious or consciously do not agree that people like me for example should be in the sport like this… discrimination is not something we should be protecting and promoting.
“It is not helpful the comments that we are seeing from these people. The last couple of weeks I don’t think a day’s gone by where there’s not been someone from one of the older [people], that havent been relevant in our sport for decades, trying to say negative things and try and bring me down. But I’m still here, I’m still standing strong and I’m focussed on my work and really trying to push for diversity and inclusion.”
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“I don’t know why we are continuing to give these older voices a platform. They speak [about] our sport and we’re looking to go somewhere completely different and it’s not representative of who we are as a sport now and where we are planning to go.
“If we are looking to grow in the US, South Africa, and grow our audience we need to look into the future and give the young people a platform that’s more representative of today’s time and who we are trying to be. It’s not just about one individual, it’s not about one use of that term, it’s about the bigger picture.”