Ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix, video emerged of former world champion Nelson Piquet using a racial slur while discussing Hamilton, and Red Bull terminated the contract of their junior driver Juri Vips after the F2 racer used the same insult had used a Twitch live stream.
Vips and Piquet in particular were widely condemned for their comments and there was plenty of support for Hamilton from F1, the FIA and other drivers and teams.
On Thursday, the seven-time world champion arrived at Silverstone and addressed a large crowd of fans during Sky Sports’ live F1 show to thank them for their continued support.
“Without that, this sport wouldn’t be the same,” Hamilton said, gesturing to fans.
“The energy these guys bring every year but also as we travel around the world. I’m sure there are people here who have traveled to many different races and continue to fly the Union Jack and show their support.
“Without her I wouldn’t be here. I am so thankful for the love and support and my heart is racing its crazy.
“We’ve made this journey for so long, 16 years, and my heart is still pumping at a crazy rate when I see you all. I love you.’
Earlier, Hamilton spoke at length in a press conference about preventing “archaic mindsets” from plaguing the sport, referring not only to Piquet but also to former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone and former world champion Jackie Stewart.
Ecclestone claimed he would take a bullet for Russian President Vladimir Putin despite the invasion of Ukraine, while Jackie Stewart, who has been a harsh and outspoken critic of Hamilton, last week told his compatriot to retire from Formula One.
“I don’t know why we continue to give a platform to these older voices because they speak about our sport and I don’t think they are representative of who we are now as a sport and where we want to go. ‘ Hamilton said.
“These old voices, you know, subconsciously or consciously, don’t agree that people like me, for example, should be in a sport like this, don’t agree that women should be here.
“Discrimination is not something we should give a platform to. We need people who bring people together. We are all the same and the comments we see are not helpful.
“There has to be some accountability. You know what you’re going to get [with Ecclestone].
‘I don’t know what they have [the broadcaster’s] The goal is. Hearing from someone who ultimately believes in war, the displacement of millions of people and the murder of thousands of people; the person who does that, they support him. And I can’t believe I heard that today.
“This will set us back decades, but we have yet to see the true brunt of the pain, we no longer need to support this. There are many people out there who want to be positive. If they don’t want to be positive, don’t give them the space.”
MORE: Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen and more F1 drivers rally in support of Lewis Hamilton amid racial abuse
MORE: Lewis Hamilton says he’s ‘running for something much, much bigger’ as he opens up about racial abuse
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/07/01/f1-lewis-hamilton-thanks-fans-for-support-in-nelson-piquet-controversy-16925071/ F1 Lewis Hamilton thanks fans for their support in Nelson Piquet controversy