LEWIS HAMILTON gave a brilliant press conference as he called on Formula One to do more to combat racism.
The Mercedes star is at the centre of a race storm after three-time world champion Nelson Piquet used the n-word twice in an interview that made headlines this week.
Footage emerged this week of Piquet using the n-word when talking about Hamilton
Former F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone then bizarrely claimed he would “take a bullet for Vladimir Putin” and said Hamilton should have “brushed aside” the racist comments.
Hamilton, who has been a force for change in F1, spoke at length ahead of this Sunday’s British Grand Prix.
Here are his words in full.
“These older voices, subconsciously or consciously, do not agree people like me should be in this sport.
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“Discrimination should not be projected.
“I don’t think in the last couple of weeks a day has gone by where some of the older people who, are not in our sport or have not been relevant in our sport for decades, have tried to say negative things and bring me down.
“But I am still here and still standing strong and trying to do my work and pushing diversity.
“I don’t know why we are continuing to give these older voices a platform.
“They are speaking for our sport, but we are looking to go somewhere different and they are not representative of who we are now and where we are planning to go.
“If we are looking to grow our audiences in the US and South Africa we need to be giving the younger people a platform.
“They are more representative of today’s time and who we are trying to be. It is not just about one individual, or the use of that term, but the bigger picture.”
He said: “I’ve always tried to take the high road and I’ve always tried to be respectful to these individuals.
“I think it ties back to what I was saying before, just why do we give these guys a platform? They’re not with the times, they’re clearly not willing to change.
“And these undertones of discrimination and microaggressions are just in today’s world are just not helpful and just creative more divide than not.
“I love how Michelle Obama says when they go low, we go high. So I try to continue to do that.
“As I said, I’m still here. It’s not going to deter me from doing what I think is right and doing what I love, which is working in the sport.
“We are living still within the world, there’s still discrimination throughout the world so it’s still clearly all around us.
“You see it on social media these microaggressions that continue to come out and enough is enough.
“I’ve tried to take that higher road and avoid it but no one should have to brush off racism and it shouldn’t be for me to have to brush it off.
Through his own privately-funded commission, Hamilton, who has invested £20million into the project, has devised a charter for F1 teams to sign to improve diversity and inclusivity.
However, not all teams have signed it.
Asked about that, he added: “We need to know we need organisations, big organisations to take a stand.
“It’s now a knee-jerk reaction really [to release statements], from companies all around the world, when something like this happens.
“They probably already have a script ready for something like that, crisis management. It’s not enough.
“Now it’s about actual real action. We’ve got to actually start acting.
“We really need F1 and all the teams that have committed to signing this F1 charter. I’ve done that work with the Hamilton Commission, to work and also to put funds towards diversity and inclusivity.
“It’s not good enough just saying we are also focused on it and just lip service.
“We really need to push for action and that’s why I’m proud of the first step we’ve done with Ignite and that’s not the end of it, that’s just the beginning.
“I’ve got Mission 44 up and running. I’ve got a whole team of people there to really focus on it.
“I’ve got my own money in that and I’m out trying to raise money also to try and really push this.
“There’s a lot of great work that’s happening, but we need more and I can’t do it alone.”
F1 have banned Piquet from attending all future events while Ecclestone is also no longer welcomed in the paddock.
Hamilton also condemned Ecclestone’s support for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his war on Ukraine.
Hamilton added: “There needs to be some accountability. You know what you are going to get with that and I don’t know what GMB’s goal is, if they were seeking to create and divide here in the UK.
“We don’t need any more of it, to hear from someone that believes in the war, and the displacement of millions of people and killing thousands of people, and supports that person [Putin] who is doing that.
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“It is beyond me. I cannot believe I heard that today. It is affecting all those people out there and all people around the world.
“This is going to put us back decades, and we have yet to see the real brunt of the pain.”