Hamilton posted a video to his Instagram account in which he suggested F1 should do more to encourage participation from a wider range of ethnic backgrounds.
Lewis Hamilton has taken aim at Formula One after he accused the sport of lacking diversity ahead of the opening race of the new season.
Hamilton, the 33-year-old British driver, had appeared alongside his rival Sebastian Vettel at the sport’s official press conference to answer questions on his championship defence.
But moments after he left the press conference room at Albert Park in Melbourne, Hamilton posted a video to his Instagram account in which he suggested F1 should do more to encourage participation from a wider range of ethnic backgrounds.
Four-time champion Hamilton is the sport’s first and only black driver and has six million followers on Instagram.Hamilton recorded the 15-second video from his Mercedes team’s hospitality suite of a number of people in the paddock, and accompanied the clip with the words: “There’s barely any diversity in F1. Still nothing’s changed in 11 years I’ve been here.
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“Kids, people, there’s so many jobs in this sport of which anybody, no matter your ethnicity or background, can make it and fit in.”
He ended the post with two hashtags, ‘diversity’, and ‘you can do it’.
It is not Hamilton’s first run-in with the sport over race issues. Back in 2011, Hamilton said: “Maybe it’s because I’m black. That’s what Ali G says”, after he was penalised by stewards at the Monaco Grand Prix.
Hamilton is this year bidding to become only the third driver in F1 history to win the championship more than four times.
The Stevenage-born racer delivered some of the best displays of his career last term after beating Vettel to the championship with two rounds to spare.
And he fired an ominous warning to his rivals on the eve of the new campaign by vowing to take his performances to even greater heights this season.
“I plan to go to another level and that is what I have been working towards,” Hamilton said. “I hope I haven’t reached my peak.
“I am sure there is a peak for a driver’s fitness levels and when your interest starts to decline your drive starts to decline.
“I guess that’s when you’re over your peak, but I definitely don’t feel I’m at that stage. I’m in a good range right now and I need to continue to extract the most I can from it.”
Hamilton also made room to take a swipe at his long-term rival Nico Rosberg, who earlier this week claimed that his former team-mate’s greatest weakness was inconsistency.
“There are a lot of people that need to get headlines and I think I proved that wasn’t the case last year,” Hamilton added. “My consistency was the reason why I won the world championship.”
Hamilton, who was flanked on the press conference stage by Vettel and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, is the favourite to win his fifth championship – and his fourth from the last five years – with Mercedes expected to continue their dominance of the sport.
“Mercedes is right and Lewis is right to be the favourite this year,” Vettel added. “We have reasons to be confident.
“Our car is great, there is stuff to come so there is plenty to look forward to, but usually around this point you don’t know where the others are, so that is why it is pointless to come here and say you will blow everybody away.
“Based on testing, we are in good shape. We could be in better shape, but it is always like that.”
Written By: Philip Duncan
First Published 22.03.18: https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/motor-racing/formula1/lewis-hamilton-instagram-formula-1-preview-mercedes-a8268456.html