Hamilton calls for more action to fight racism in F1 and beyond

Nelson Piquet and Juri Vips both involved in recent racism incidents


Seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton has doubled down on calls for stronger action inside and outside Formula 1 in the wake of Nelson Piquet using a racial slur to describe the seven-time champion.

In a November 2021 video that surfaced recently, Piquet called Hamilton a ‘neguinho’ – meaning ‘little n****r’ in Brazilian Portuguese – but has since been forced to apologise amid intense backlash from the F1 community.

Hamilton, who’s particularly stepped up his activism on racial equality since the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, had previously responded to Piquet’s comments on social media but has since commented further.

“We’ve got to actually start acting and it comes back down to F1, to the media,” Hamilton told the press ahead of the 2022 British GP.

“It’s now a knee-jerk reaction from companies all around the world, you’ve got to imagine that everyone’s PR people have a script ready for something like that.

“It’s not enough now it’s now about real action, we should not be giving these people a platform.”

His comments came the same day of an interview with Bernie Ecclestone that saw the ex-F1 boss praise Vladimir Putin and criticise Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky for not doing more to prevent the invasion of his country.

Nelson Piquet Snr at Chinese Grand Prix 2009 Credit: Action Images / Crispin Thruston

“I don’t know why we’re continuing to give these older voices a platform because they’re speaking on our sport and we’re looking to go somewhere completely [different] and it’s not representative of who we are as a sport now and where we’re planning to grow,” Hamilton added.

Hamilton grateful for support

The 37-year-old is on a two-race winning streak at the British Grand Prix having won in 2020 and 2021, both victories involving drama in the last few laps.

But the 2022 has been more of a struggle and if he fails to extend that run then it’ll be Hamilton‘s worst-ever start to an F1 season in terms of rounds without a win – in 2009 and 2013 he had to wait until Round 10 to register his first win of the campaign, both times at Hungary.

However, the on-track implications have taken a back seat given the events leading up to the 2022 edition of the Grand Prix, with a tide of support within F1 backing Lewis.

“I’m incredibly grateful to all those that’ve been supportive within this sport,” Hamilton said regarding the reaction to Piquet’s comments.

“It’s been two years since many of us took the knee at Austria and of course we’re still faced with challenges.

“I’ve been on the receiving end of racism and criticism and negativity and archaic narratives for a long long time and undertones of discrimination so there’s nothing particularly new for me, it’s more about the bigger picture.”

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton is seen during Bahrain GP drivers parade REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

How much more can be done?

But compatriot Lando Norris doesn’t think that there’s a shortfall from the drivers towards fighting racism.

“I don’t think we’re not doing anything I think we are doing quite a bit as a sport and as a community,” said the 22-year-old..

“It’s hard to do certain actions on top of driving and on top of everything else that we do it’s not an easy thing.

“So we do a lot and we speak up about it and I think these things have a good impact on everything and we’ll continue to do that and have the best impact that we can.”

The McLaren driver also stressed the importance of forgiveness and looking past ‘genuine mistakes’.

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, and previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
- Advertisment -


Daniel Ricciardo of Visa Cash App RB during Sprint Qualifying ahead of 2024 Chinese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

What time does 2024 Chinese Grand Prix Start?

The anticipation builds for the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix, an event that promises high-speed action and strategic battles at...
Felix Rosenqvist IndyCar 2024 Grand Prix of Long Beach pole position | Penske Entertainment: Chris Owens

Felix Rosenqvist takes tight pole position for IndyCar Grand Prix of Long Beach 

Felix Rosenqvist secured pole position for the 2024 IndyCar Grand Prix of Long Beach by the smallest of margins,...
Fernando Alonso defends from Carlos Sainz in the 2024 Chinese GP Sprint | Peter Fox / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Why the Chinese GP battle behind Red Bull will be intense

Anything but a Max Verstappen victory at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix would be a huge shock as a...
Max Verstappen celebrates pole position after qualifying for the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull reach new heights with 100th pole – Horner should savour dominance while it...

Red Bull haven't won many fans with their continued dominance of Formula 1 since the arrival of the 2022...

Wolff rubbishes Hamilton claim after Chinese GP exit

Toto Wolff hit back at Lewis Hamilton at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix, claiming his Q1 exit was due...
Carlos Sainz during the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix weekend | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Aston Martin protest over Carlos Sainz Chinese GP qualifying crash dismissed

After a sprint Saturday at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix, the drama went on a little longer as the...
Fernando Alonso during 2024 Australian GP | Aston Martin F1 Team

Fernando Alonso reveals Aston Martin’s true pace compared to F1 rivals after Chinese GP...

Fernando Alonso believes Aston Martin are slower than Ferrari, McLaren and potentially even Mercedes despite outqualifying all of them...
Max Verstappen of Red Bull leads Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes during the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix Sprint | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen admits to qualifying confusion after Lewis Hamilton caught out

Max Verstappen revealed he was confused by his opening run in Q3 before eventually improving to take his fifth...
Lewis Hamilton looks on in a press conference at the 2024 pre-season test in Bahrain | Mercedes / Jiri Krenek

Lewis Hamilton upbeat after Mercedes disaster in Chinese GP qualifying: Sh*t happens

Lewis Hamilton admits his changes made to his car prior to qualifying for the Formula 1 2024 Chinese Grand...

Christian Horner: Perez driving for Red Bull future

Christian Horner praised Sergio Perez's recovery after a chastening 2023 Formula 1 season, as the Mexican completed a Red...
- Advertisment -