Sir Lewis Hamilton was left horrified by comments made by former Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone about Russian President Vladimir Putin and Nelson Piquet’s racist remark.
Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine in February, and the subsequent war has led to tens of thousands of deaths as well as millions of refugees.
The sheer number of casualties and victims is as yet unknown, but Ecclestone defended Putin’s actions during an interview with ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
“I’d still take a bullet for him,” he said.
“I’d rather it didn’t hurt but even if it does, I’d still take a bullet because he’s a first-class person and what he’s doing is something he believed was the right thing he was doing for Russia.
“Unfortunately, he’s like a lot of businesspeople – certainly like me – that we make mistakes from time to time.
“And when you’ve made a mistake, you have to do the best you can to get out of it, and I think if it had been conducted properly…”
The 91-year-old then implied that Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy should have done more to prevent the war from breaking out, and Hamilton has called for outdated opinions like Ecclestone’s to be denied a platform.
“We don’t need any more of it, to hear from someone that believes in the war, and the displacement of people and killing of people, and supporting that person [Putin] is beyond me,” he said.
“I cannot believe I heard that. This is going to put us back decades, and we have yet to see the real brunt of the pain.
“Why? We do not need to be supporting that but looking into the future. If you don’t have anything positive to contribute, don’t give them any space.”
F1 also condemned the words of Ecclestone.
“The comments made by Bernie Ecclestone are his personal views and are in very stark contrast to the position of the modern values of our sport,” said a spokesperson.
Ecclestone’s comments follow incidents of racism involving three-time champion Nelson Piquet and Formula 2 driver Juri Vips.