Lewis Hamilton thanks fans for their support in Nelson Piquet controversy
Sir Lewis Hamilton has thanked his fans for their support in the wake of the racial abuse incidents that have rocked Formula 1 this past week.
In the build-up to this weekend’s British Grand Prix, a video of former world champion Nelson Piquet using a racial slur when discussing Hamilton emerged, and Red Bull terminated the contract of their junior driver Juri Vips after the F2 racer used the same slur on a Twitch live stream.
Vips and especially Piquet have been widely condemned for their comments and there has been a great deal of support for Hamilton from F1, the FIA and fellow drivers and teams.
On Thursday the seven-time world champion arrived at Silverstone and addressed a large crowd of fans during Sky Sports’ live F1 Show to thank them for their continued support.
‘This sport wouldn’t be the same without this,’ Hamilton said, gesturing to the fans.
‘The energy these guys bring every year but also when we’re travelling around the world. I’m sure there are people here that have travelled to many different races and continue to raise the Union Jack and show their support.
‘I wouldn’t be here without them. I’m so grateful for the love and support and my heart is racing, it’s crazy.
‘We’ve done this journey for so long, 16 years and my heart’s still pumping at a crazy rate just seeing you all. I love you guys.’
Earlier in a press conference, Hamilton had spoken at length about preventing ‘archaic mindsets’ from plaguing the sport, referring not only to Piquet but also former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone and former world champion Jackie Stewart.
Ecclestone claimed he would ‘take a bullet’ for Russian President Vladimir Putin in spite of the invasion of Ukraine, while Jackie Stewart who has been a harsh and outspoken critic of Hamilton, last week told his fellow Brit to retire from F1.
‘I don’t know why we are continuing to give these older voices a platform because they’re speaking upon our sport and it’s not representative, I think, of who we are as a sport now and where we’re planning to go,’ Hamilton said.
‘These old voices are, you know, whether subconsciously or consciously, do not agree that people like me, for example, should be in a sport like this, do not agree women should be here.
‘Discrimination is not something we should be giving a platform. We need people to be bringing people together. We are all the same and the comments we are seeing are not helpful.
‘There needs to be some accountability. You know what you’re going to get [with Ecclestone].
‘I don’t know what their [the broadcaster’s] goal is. To hear from someone that ultimately believes in the war, displacement of millions of people and the killing of thousands of people; the person who’s doing that, they support him. And I can’t believe that’s what I heard today.
‘This is going to put us back decades, but we have yet to see the real brunt of the pain, we don’t need to be supporting that anymore. There are plenty of people out there who want to be positive. If they don’t want to be positive, don’t give them the space.’
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