Mario Andretti calls Lewis Hamilton a militant

Lewis Hamilton and his Black Militant salute
Lewis Hamilton and his Black Militant salute. Like Bubba Wallace and NASCAR, he'll cost F1 a lot of fans

Speaking to Chilean newspaper El Mercurio last week, Mario Andretti said: “I wish politics didn't get mixed up with sport. There's a time and a place to express your opinions. What happened in NASCAR with Bubba Wallace became bigger than it should be.

“What seemed to be a terrible situation was finally not. It was disproportionate and without reason. That happens when you think about politics before anything else."

Lewis Hamilton never had to drive some of the dog cars Andretti had in his day
Lewis Hamilton never had to live in a concentration camp and drive some of the dog cars Andretti had in his day

Asked about Hamilton’s efforts to change F1 and increase racial diversity within the sport, Andretti replied: "It's the same thing. I have a lot of respect for Lewis, but why become a militant? He's always been accepted and he's earned everyone's respect.

“I think the whole point of this is pretentious. I feel that way. And it's creating a problem that doesn't exist.

“Painting the car black [his Mercedes-Benz AMG F1]… I don't know what good it will do.

“I've met drivers from different backgrounds, races, and I've always welcomed them with open arms. In motor racing it doesn't matter what color you are; you have to earn your place with results, and that's the same for everyone."

“Yes, they (blacks) are a minority, but it's not that they're not welcome.

“I don't know how to explain it, but there have already been black drivers in Indy, NASCAR and they have always been welcome, I'm even friends with some of them to this day.

“I don't know what's wrong. Yes, maybe there is little diversity, but it's not because they are discriminated against. That's the point."

Hamilton, 33, responded on Instagram.

"This is disappointing but unfortunately a reality that some of the older generation who still have a voice today cannot get out of their own way and acknowledge there is a problem," he said.

"This is plain ignorance but that will not stop me from continuing to push for change. It is never too late to learn and I hope that this man who I've always had respect for can take the time to educate himself," Hamilton added.

As for triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart, he recently said of the anti-racism campaigning: "I don't think there's as big a problem as there might seem".

"Again, another one," Hamilton responded. "Just disappointing."

Hamilton is fighting for this
Hamilton is fighting for this

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