Lewis Hamilton has responded angrily to comments on race from former Formula One chief Bernie Eccelestone that 'In lots of cases, Black people are more racist than what White people are.'
Six-time world champion Hamilton has been vocal in calls for more diversity in his sport, and has been a prominent supporter of the 'Black Lives Matter' movement.
Recent comments on race were instigated by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis by a white police officer, which Hamilton said at the time made him feel "completely overcome with rage."
89-year-old Ecclestone this week made some controversial comments to CNN, while still praising the work the British driver has been doing for the sport.
Went down to Hyde Park today for the peaceful protest and I was so proud to see in person so many people of all races and backgrounds supporting this movement. It was really moving. I’m feeling extremely positive that change will come, but we cannot stop now. #blacklivesmatter ✊🏾 pic.twitter.com/koOTEPOXAh
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) June 21, 2020
"So sad and disappointing to read these comments. Bernie is out of the sport and a different generation but this exactly what is wrong – ignorant and uneducated comments which show us how far we as a society need to go before real equality can happen.
"It makes complete sense to me now that nothing was said or done to make our sport more diverse or to address the racial abuse I received throughout my career.
"If someone who has run the sport for decades has such a lack of understanding of the deep-rooted issues we as black people deal with every day, how can we expect all the people who work under him to understand? It starts at the top.
Lewis Hamilton says Bernie Ecclestone's comments show ‘how far we need to go'https://t.co/Xm0Ls0aYXR
— Formula 1 (@F1) June 27, 2020
"Now the time has come for change. I will not stop pushing to create an inclusive future for our sport with equal opportunity for all. To create a world that provides equal opportunity for minorities."
Formula One themselves also reacted to Ecclestone's comments, distancing themselves from his views in a statement.
“At a time when unity is needed to tackle racism and inequality, we completely disagree with Bernie Ecclestone’s comments that have no place in Formula 1 or society.
"Mr Ecclestone has played no role in Formula 1 since he left our organisation in 2017, his title Chairman Emeritus, being honorific, expired in January 2020."
The organisation recently launched an equality and diversity taskforce to increase opportunities for minority groups.