Six-time Formula One champion, Lewis Hamilton has expressed disappointment with the recent comments made by Mario Andretti and Sir Jackie Stewart after remarks that Hamilton had become a “militant” and that there wasn’t a “big problem” with diversity in Formula 1.
Hamilton has been at the forefront of a international campaign against racism since the death of American George Floyd in May. The Mercedes driver has also launched a commission to encourage more diversity in F1, in which he is the only black driver.
The six-time champion has also shown his support in 2020’s opening three races by performing the Black Power salute on top of his Mercedes car and on top of the podium after winning the Styrian GP on July 12, while he has taken a knee before every race, urging drivers who have stood to join him.
But speaking before last weekend’s Hungarian GP, motorsport legend Andretti was quoted as telling Chilean newspaper El Mercurio that Hamilton has become a militant.
“I have a lot of respect for Lewis, but why become a militant? He’s always been accepted and he’s earned everyone’s respect,” Andretti said.
“I think the whole point of this is pretentious. I feel that way. And it’s creating a problem that doesn’t exist,” he added.
Hamilton’s posted on Instagram in reaction to Andretti comments. He said he has always had respect for Andretti, who is famously an F1 and multi IndyCar champion, but called on the American to “educate himself”.
“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,” Hamilton wrote.
“Again, this is plain ignorance but that will not stop me from continuing to push for change. 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,” the F1 world champion said.
Stewart has meanwhile, denied there was a major racism issue in F1.
“I think Lewis has been a great example to lots of people,” the Scottish three-time F1 champion said on Good Morning Britain last week.
“He’s quite vocal about these elements, I don’t think there’s as big a problem as there might seem.
“There is no resistance for change if someone is clever and good at what they do. They will be accepted in Formula 1,” Stewart pointed out.
In his following Instagram post, Hamilton wrote: “Again, another one. Just disappointing,” the reigning world champion submitted.