By Miftaudeen Raji
Joint-record seven F1 World Drivers’ Championship title holder, Lewis Hamilton has hit back at Brazilian three-time F1 world champion Nelson Piquet over his racist remark targeted at the British racing driver.
Hamilton in a tweet via his verified Twitter handle on Tuesday called for “archaic mindsets to change” after the racist remark about him from Piquet provoked widespread backlash.
The tweet reads partly, “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,” Hamilton said.
Recall that Piquet, 69, had used a racist remark about Hamilton when describing events of the opening lap of last year’s British Grand Prix crash with Max Verstappen,
Piquet specifically said Hamilton had “played dirty” in the incident. The comments resurfaced as the drivers prepare to return to Silverstone this weekend.
Meanwhile, Piquet’s daughter Kelly is Verstappen’s partner.
The British racing driver was recently awarded honorary Brazilian citizenship and is the sport’s only Black driver.
Hamilton, who holds the records for the most wins, pole positions, and podium finishes, among others is currently competing in Formula One for Mercedes.
In the wake of the diatribe, Motor racing’s governing body Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, FIA, Formula One and Mercedes, in separate statements condemned the racist remark in the F1.
The F1 said, “Discriminatory or racist language is unacceptable in any form and has no part in society. Lewis is an incredible ambassador for our sport and deserves respect.”
Mercedes said Hamilton was “a true champion of diversity on and off-track”, while FIA expressed solidarity and support for the Briton’s “commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion in motorsport”.
However, Hamilton has been described as a hero by Brazil’s former Environment Minister Carlos Minc, who said the driver had helped in the fight against the clearing of a forest to build a circuit in Rio de Janeiro.
But Piquet, who bagged his World titles in 1981, 1983 and 1987, has been described as a vocal supporter of President Jair Bolsonaro.
Recall that last year, the three-time Brazilian champion drove the presidential Rolls-Royce during a ceremony.