Rio Ferdinand has defended Lewis Hamilton by claiming that “racist undertones” are driving critics claiming he lacks ‘Britishness’.
Hamilton reiterated his loyalty to the nation in the build-up to this weekend’s British Grand Prix when asked about his accent and his decision to live in Monaco.
The five-time world champion declared: “I go to all these races and I lift the British flag proudly. There is no one else in this sport that has raised it so high.”
Former England and Manchester United defender Ferdinand has used his Instagram account to support the 34-year-old.
“Lewis Hamilton facing jibes over his Britishness !!! When he lifts the titles he is reported very British…but on the way to winning, throughout the year his patriotism is questioned. Why???”, Ferdinand wrote.
“The usual questions are “but you live in Monaco….your accent isn’t totally British…your lifestyle travelling and fashion choices….”
“Firstly, most F1 drivers live in Monaco including the likes of our other former world champion Jenson Button. Was Jenson’s britishness ever questioned for living in Monaco?? Not a chance.
“I will tell you why – because he looked similar, sounded similar, dressed similar & walked similar to the people who raise these questions of Hamilton.
“The level of disrespect & racist undertones in questioning Hamilton’s Patriotism should not be underestimated.
“If you can enjoy your life doing things YOUR WAY, AND WIN, then you are really really winning in life as a British sportsman – but don’t forget to talk very British, dress very British, and most importantly live in the UK otherwise there will be questions on your patriotism!
“We should all celebrate a champion who is One Of Our Own! @lewishamilton #F1.”