Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton has criticized “ignorant and uneducated” comments by former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.
Hamilton, a six-time world champion and the only Black driver in F1, was shocked by Ecclestone's claim during an interview with broadcaster CNN on Friday that “in lots of cases, Black people are more racist” than white people.
"Damn, I just don't even know where to start on this one ... so sad and disappointing to read these comments,” Hamilton posted on Instagram. “This is 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.”
Ecclestone made his assertion when he was asked his opinion on Hamilton setting up a commission to increase diversity in motorsport.
“I don't think it's going to do anything bad or good for Formula One. It will just make people think, which is more important,” Ecclestone replied. "People ought to think a little bit and say ‘what the hell', somebody’s not the same as white people and that Black people should think the same about white people. Because I think in lots of cases, Black people are more racist than what white people are.”
Challenged to give evidence, Ecclestone replied: "Things over the years I've noticed and there's no need for it."
Hamilton recently attended a Black Lives Matter march in London. He has spoken widely about racism in recent weeks after saying he felt “so much anger, sadness and disbelief” following the killing of George Floyd - a handcuffed and unarmed Black man - by a police officer in Minneapolis last month.
“Lewis is a little bit special. First he’s very, very, very talented as a driver and he seems to be now extremely talented when he’s standing up making speeches,” Ecclestone said. “This last campaign he’s doing for the Black people is wonderful. He’s doing a great job and it’s people (who are) easily recognizable that people listen to.”