Following the comments made by Nelson Piquet Sr. during an interview where he talked about Silverstone 2021 and the racist remarks from the three-time World Champion on the seven-time World Champion, the Formula 1 World has raised its concerns and showed support for Lewis Hamilton as the pinnacle of motorsport keeps fighting this reality with the drivers as the main characters.
Sebastian Vettel, Lando Norris, Charles Leclerc, and George Russell spoke to the media ahead of starting the track action at the British GP
The German driver, who will become 35 on Sunday, expressed during Thursday’s press conference at Silverstone: “Where to start? I think it's more than just the recent days, if we are very honest. It's been probably what he and his family has been through his entire life.”
“Now, any form of abuse is wrong, so, I think it was great to see that there was so much response from all of the F1 community, and so quickly people expressed support on the matter towards Lewis.”
“I don't think there should be any room for this kind of comments.”
“We've come a lot further than, maybe, years ago, but it doesn't help when we see that these things are still there, and people are still using inappropriate language, and saying wrong things.”
“It is important that we continue to talk about it because as I said, it's not gone, and it won't be gone overnight. F1 in that regard has the responsibility to address this issues, -which I think we're doing, we have the campaign We Race as One- something that makes very clear where we are going and where we want to go in the future.”
“More than ‘language’ and ‘things that we are trying to do’, I think is more about how we behave, and how we include everyone. No matter which color you are, no matter what type of partner you have, sexual orientation… Any community is welcomed and we should always respond in that way, really quickly, and make it clear that we are open to anyone because kindness matters and people matter.”
Lando Norris spoke on the topic regarding his fellow countryman at Media Day on Silverstone, the McLaren driver agreed with the Aston Martin pilot.
“I don't think, –as Seb said– this is something Lewis has had just recently or just now. It's something that he's dealt with for a lot of his career since he started, he's has said that many times.”
“I think we all know how strong of a person he is, and how he can get through these times and things like that because is definitely not an easy thing. There's no room for these kind of comments.”
“People bringing these words to F1, especially in such a public stage, it's never a nice thing, and as Formula 1 we want to be able to create positive change. We are Formula 1 drivers and that's what we love; we still want to make things better in the world, and create changes and always good ones.”
“I highlight we still need to continue to do this, even though we can work on different areas like climate change, etcetera; the most important and obvious ones still need support and having voices to speak openly about them all.”
Grand Prix Drivers' Association director and Hamilton’s teammate George Russell said: "It is clear we all need to do more to stamp out all of the racism that is going around, not just in the motorsport world but society, and it goes further than just this as well.”
Talking about Nelson Piquet’s words and Juri Vips incident, Russell said: "There is a huge amount going around and this week has been shocking to see from two different ends of the spectrum - from somebody who... I won't say is stuck in his ways, but from an older generation and then from a youngster.”
"We all need to do more."
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc spoke on the topic as asked by Sky Sports.
“Of course these recent events show that we've got a long way to go in our sport, but I believe that it is a reflection of our whole society, and we need to be better. Lewis deserves respect, yeah, he's a seven times World Champion but he's also just a person and I think everybody deserves the respect. It's a really big shame and it's very disappointing and sad to see that they're still people that don't understand this.”