Lewis Hamilton, the six-time Formula One World Champion, keeps making himself heard on his non-stop battle and strong support for the Black Lives Matter movement, in the hope that the anti-racist protests and fight he is proudly leading will make the difference in Formula One.
Specifically, Lewis Hamilton has hit back at past Formula One champions Mario Andretti and Jackie Stewart for their comments on his anti-racism stance and push for greater diversity in the sport.
Formula One F1 - Hungarian Grand Prix - Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary - July 19, 2020 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton wearing a t-shirt in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign before the race. Image credit Mark Thompson/Pool via REUTERS
Andretti, who won his title in 1978 and is now 80, was quoted by the Chilean newspaper ‘El Mercurio’, which claimed that he had a lot of respect for the six times world champion but asked why he had ‘become a militant’ in his anti-racist fight.
The Italian-born American former racing driver also talked about the fact that Hamilton is, in comments translated into Spanish, “creating a problem that doesn’t exist” and added that “in motor racing colour doesn’t matter; you have to win your place with results, and that’s the same for everyone.”
Triple champion Stewart, 81 and Britain’s most successful driver until Hamilton came along, had declared to ITV’s Good Morning Britain that he did not think Formula One had as big a problem as it might seem.
Yet, Hamilton is the only Black driver in a sport that is heavily white and male.
Hamilton’s Instagram posts reacting to Andretti and Stewart’s comments. Image credit The Armenian Reporter
Hamilton responded to the two former drivers through an Instagram story, saying: “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”.
“Again, this is plain ignorance but that will not stop me from continuing to push for change,” he added, talking about Andretti’s comments.
“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,” added the Mercedes driver.
Of Stewart’s comments, the Briton wrote: “Again, another one. Just disappointing.”
Lewis Hamilton with Mario Andretti and Sir Jackie Stewart. Image credit SPORTSTOFT
Championship leader Hamilton has taken a knee before all three of the season’s races so far, wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt and using his platform to speak out against racial injustice.
In Hungary last weekend, where the drivers’ pre-race anti-racism gesture appeared hurried and disorganised, the 35-year-old also called on Formula One in general to do more in the fight against racism.