Lewis Hamilton removed his nose stud today amid a long-running jewellery dispute with Formula One bosses – after also calling for ‘grandees’ such as Bernie Ecclestone to no longer be given a platform amid a continuing race row.
The seven-time world champion’s jewellery stand-off with F1’s governing body the FIA has been ongoing since April’s Australian Grand Prix.
Hamilton was granted a number of medical exemptions by the FIA relating to the taking out of the nose stud – which he said could not be easily removed. His latest exemption expired yesterday.
Hamilton conducted his media duties at Silverstone with the item of jewellery still in place, but the FIA has confirmed it has been taken out for the opening action of the weekend. This means he’ll avoid being sent to the stands on safety grounds.
Hinto the paddock on Friday morning still wearing his nose stud despite threat that he could be banned from taking part in the British Grand Prix if he continued to wear it
By the time of first practice though, he appeared to back down and removed the nose stud
Hamilton carries his dog Roscoe up the stairs at the Silverstone race track
While a number of options were available to the stewards – including a reprimand, fine or the docking of championship points – the worst-case scenario for Hamilton was a suspension for a breach of the rules.
Speaking yesterday , Hamilton said: “It is kind of crazy with all that is going on in the world, that this is the focus for people. I would say it is worrying. We have so much bigger fish to fry. We need to focus on other important areas.
“I will be racing this weekend and working with the FIA.
‘The matter is not massively important so I will work with [FIA president] Mohammed [ben Sulayem] and his team to progress forward.”
It came as the British racing star called for older figures in the world of racing, such as Ecclestone and Sir Jackie Stewart, to no longer be given a platform because ‘enough is enough’ after Nelson Piquet’s racial slur.
Hamilton was responding to Piquet calling him a variant of the n-word and Ecclestone’s defence of Vladimir Putin as a ‘first-class person’. Stewart said last week that Hamilton, 37, should retire.
In a bizarre interview on Good Morning Britain, former Formula 1 owner Bernie Ecclestone, 91, branded 69-year-old dictator Vladimir Putin a ‘first-class person’ and ‘sensible’
Speaking during the toxic build-up to Sunday’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Hamilton said: ‘I don’t know why we are continuing to give these older voices a platform.
‘They are speaking for our sport, but we are looking to go somewhere different and they are not representative of who we are now and where we are planning to go.
‘If we are looking to grow our audiences in the US and South Africa we need to be giving the younger people a platform. They are more representative of today’s time and who we are trying to be. It is not just about one individual, or the use of that term, but the bigger picture.
‘These older voices, subconsciously or consciously, do not agree people like me should be in this sport. Discrimination should not be projected.
‘I don’t think in the last couple of weeks a day has gone by where some of the older people who are not in our sport or have not been relevant in our sport for decades have tried to say negative things and bring me down, but I am still here and still standing strong and trying to do my work and pushing diversity.’
Ecclestone, 91, ran Formula One for four decades, turning it into a multi-billion-dollar business before losing day-to-day control in 2017, when Liberty Media bought the business.
Nelson Piquet, speaking on a Brazilian podcast (pictured) about an incident between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone last year, has been heavily criticised for a racist remark aimed at the Briton. Piquet has since come out to claim the wording had no racial intent
Hamilton also hit out at Ecclestone and Sir Jackie Stewart in the build-up to British Grand Prix
Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Thursday, Ecclestone said he would ‘take a bullet’ for Putin, with whom he grew friendly arranging the Russian Grand Prix in 2014.
As for Stewart, 83, he recently said: ‘It’s time to resign. He’s got music, he’s got culture, he loves clothing, and the rag trade would be absolutely suitable for him.
‘I’m sure he’ll be very successful because he’s been earning a huge amount of money – rightfully so because he’s been the best of his time.’
Comments from another triple world champion Piquet, 69, came to light earlier this week in which he referred to Hamilton as a ‘neguinho’, a Portuguese term which can be translated as ‘n*****’. Piquet apologised and claimed it was a colloquial and inoffensive phrase. But Formula One Group, the sport’s commercial rights holders banned him for life.
They have not sought to ban Ecclestone, though they distanced themselves strongly from his remarks, saying: ‘The comments made by Bernie Ecclestone are his personal views and are in very start contrast to the modern values of our sport.’
Hamilton continued: ‘I am incredibly grateful to all of those who have been supportive within the sport, particularly the drivers.
Hamilton told a press conference before this weekend’s British Grand Prix that Piquet and Bernie Ecclestone are ‘not representative of who we are now in the sport’
‘It has been two years since many of us took the knee at the first race in Austria, and we are still faced with challenges.
‘I have been on the receiving end of racism and criticism and archaic narratives for a long time and undertones of discrimination, so there is nothing particularly new for me.’
Referring to Ecclestone’s interview, Hamilton added: ‘There needs to be some accountability. You know what you are going to get with that and I don’t know what GMB’s goal is, if they were seeking to create and divide here in the UK.
‘We don’t need any more of it, to hear from someone that believes in the war, and the displacement of millions of people and killing thousands of people, and supports that person [Putin] who is doing that.
‘It is beyond me. I cannot believe I heard that today. It is affecting all those people out there and all people around the world. This is going to put us back decades, and we have yet to see the real brunt of the pain.’