A number of F1 drivers have sent support to Lewis Hamilton on social media after he was subjected to racial abuse from three-time world champion Nelson Piquet Sr.
On Tuesday, footage emerged of the Brazilian discussing an incident from last year’s British Grand Prix. Hamilton and Max Verstappen collided at Copse on the first lap, forcing Verstappen to retire.
Despite being given a 10-second time penalty, Hamilton went on to 7win the race.
Piquet Sr, whose son drove at Renault from 2008 to 2009, blamed the Mercedes driver for the incident and referred to him using a racially offensive term twice.
Both Mercedes and F1 themselves have condemned the 69-year-old’s words. In addition, they reiterated that there is no place in the sport for discrimination.
Hamilton driver hit back with two tweets. The first featured the words: “Vamos focar em mudar a mentalidade,” which translates to “Let’s focus on changing the mindset.” Hamilton directed this message at Piquet in Portuguese – the native language of Brazil.
Hamilton then followed this tweet with another, stating: “It’s more than language. These archaic mindsets need to change and have no place in our sport. I’ve been surrounded by these attitudes and targeted my whole life. There has been plenty of time to learn. Time has come for action.”
Drivers support Hamilton
Hamilton’s fellow F1 drivers were also quick to back him, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate George Russell amongst those sending messages of support.
Leclerc said: “Knowing Lewis since I arrived in Formula 1, he has always been extremely respectful to me and everyone that he meets. Those values should be the standard towards anybody around the world.
“The comments made towards Lewis should not be tolerated, and we should continue to push for a more diverse and inclusive sport. We need to remove discriminatory behaviour and racist language in any form from not just our sport, but our society as well.”
Ocon posted a similar message on his Twitter:
“All racist or discriminatory language has absolutely no part in our sport and our society. Enough is enough.
I’ve worked and spent time with Lews over the years and know the kind of person he is. Always genuine and respectful with everyone around him. He has done so more for F1, on and off the track, and we are proud to have him at the forefront of our fight for further diversity and inclusion in motorsport.
I stand with Lewis and his continued efforts to make the sport we love a better place for all.”
Russell, meanwhile, quoted Hamilton’s tweet with the message:
“Huge respect to LH. He has done more for the sport than any driver in history, not just on track but off it. The fact that he and so many others are STILL having to deal with this behaviour is unacceptable. We all need to stand together against discrimination of any kind.”
Other messages of support from drivers
In addition to Leclerc, Ocon and Russell, a host of other drivers, including Daniel Ricciardo, Mick Schumacher, and Zhou Guanyu have expressed their support for the seven-time world champion.
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