Lewis Hamilton, F1’s Only Black Driver, Says ‘Archaic Mentality’ About Color Must Change | CBC Sports

Formula One great Lewis Hamilton has said the “archaic mentality” has to change after retired champion Nelson Piquet reportedly used a racial slur against him.

Hamilton’s comments came after F1 and the FIA ​​condemned the racist language.

“It’s more than a language. These archaic mindsets need to change and have no place in our sport. I’ve been surrounded by these attitudes and in the spotlight all my life,” Hamilton tweeted Tuesday.

“There has been a lot of time to learn. The time has come to act.”

The only black driver in F1, Hamilton is a seven-time world champion.

He also wrote in Portuguese, “Vamos focar em mudar a mentalidade” (Let’s focus on changing the mentality), and responded to another tweet that used an expletive about Piquet, a 69-year-old Brazilian who won three F1 titles.

Piquet was discussing an accident between Hamilton and Max Verstappen during last year’s British Grand Prix when Piquet used the word “neguinho”, which means “little black”, in November on a YouTube podcast called Enerto.

The word is not necessarily a racist slur in Brazil, but it is an expression that has been increasingly seen as distasteful, and his phrasing may also emphasize that.

Piquet’s comment didn’t go viral at the time, but it suddenly did on Monday, though it’s unclear why it took so long after the interview.

‘Incredible ambassador’

Piquet is a staunch supporter of Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right politician who is running for re-election in 100 days. Piquet previously drove Bolsonaro around Brasilia, which went viral.

“Discriminatory or racist language is unacceptable in any form and is not part of society. Lewis is an incredible ambassador for our sport and deserves respect,” F1 said in a statement. “His tireless efforts to increase diversity and inclusion are a lesson to many and something we are committed to in F1.”

Hamilton has campaigned tirelessly to fight racism and has been outspoken about human rights abuses in the countries where F1 races.

Motorsport’s governing body, the FIA, also defended Hamilton.

“The FIA ​​strongly condemns any racist or discriminatory language and behaviour, which has no place in sport or in society at large,” the FIA ​​said. “We express our solidarity with ΓåòLewisHamilton and fully support his commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion in motorsport.”

Hamilton’s Mercedes team, known as the Silver Arrows, switched from silver to an all-black car in 2020 to support Hamilton’s efforts to combat racism. Hamilton and most of the drivers took a knee before the 2020 and 2021 races as a gesture against racism. Hamilton also created the Hamilton Commission to improve diversity in F1.

“We condemn in the strongest terms any use of racist or discriminatory language of any kind. Lewis has spearheaded our sport’s efforts to combat racism and he is a true champion of diversity on and off the track,” Mercedes said on Twitter.

“Together, we share a vision for a diverse and inclusive motorsport, and this incident underscores the critical importance of continuing to fight for a brighter future.”

Two years ago, Hamilton criticized former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone’s “ignorant and uneducated” comments. Hamilton was surprised by Ecclestone’s claim during an interview with CNN that “in many cases, blacks are more racist” than whites.

Piquet won F1 three times in the 1980s and 23 races. His daughter Kelly Piquet is Verstappen’s girlfriend.

The British GP is this weekend.


Leave a Comment