Lewis Hamilton has slammed Bernie Ecclestone's support of Russian President Vladimir Putin and declared he is "not with the times."

Ex-Formula One supremo Ecclestone stated during an interview with ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Thursday that he would "take a bullet" for “first-class person” Putin.

When it was put to Ecclestone that thousands of innocent people have been killed in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion, he replied “it wasn't intentional.”

The 91-year-old also said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky should have done more to stop the ongoing war.

Ecclestone’s comments come during a grim week for motorsport, with Nelson Piquet having been condemned for a racist comment made about Hamilton and Red Bull axing reserve driver Juri Vips for a racial slur he used in an online streaming session.

Ecclestone also declared seven-time F1 champion Hamilton should be "happy" that he received an apology from Piquet and ought to have "brushed aside" the Brazilian’s racist slur.

Hamilton responded by referencing Ecclestone and Piquet as "older voices", declaring they have "nothing positive" to contribute.

"We push for action. There needs to be some accountability. What is [the platforms'] goal? We don't need [these voices] anymore," he said during a news conference.

"To hear it from someone who ultimately believes in the war, the killing of millions of people? I can't believe it. They have nothing positive to contribute to where we want to go.

"I have always tried to take the higher road and be respectful. It ties back to - why do we give them a platform? They are not with the times. They are not willing to change. Microaggression in today's world is not healthy."

Sebastian Vettel was among those who spoke out in support of Hamilton in Thursday's media session, addressing the abuse that the British driver has faced throughout his career.

"I think it’s more than just the recent, it’s what he and his family has been through his entire life," he said.

"The abuse was wrong and it was great to see such a response from the F1 community on the matter and towards Lewis.

"There shouldn’t be any room for these kinds of comments. It doesn’t help when there are still these things out here and using inappropriate language. 

"It is important to talk about it because it won’t be gone overnight and we have a responsibility to try and address these issues.

"Kindness matters and people matter. It was bad to see what was going on."

Bernie Ecclestone has sparked outrage by declaring he would "take a bullet" for Vladimir Putin and saying Volodymyr Zelensky should have done more to stop the war in Ukraine.

Ex-Formula One supremo Ecclestone on Thursday described Russian president Putin as a "sensible" and "first-class person", who has made "mistakes" like "a lot of business people."

When it was put to Ecclestone in an interview on ITV's Good Morning Britain that Russia's invasion of Ukraine has resulted in thousands of innocent people being killed, Ecclestone replied that "It wasn't intentional."

The 91-year-old also stated that he had not spoken to his "friend" Putin since Russia started the invasion of Ukraine in February.

"I'd still take a bullet for him [Putin]. He's a first-class person." said Ecclestone.

"Unfortunately he is like a lot of business people, certainly like me, we make mistakes from time to time."

He added: "It wasn't intentional. Look at the times America has moved into different countries which has nothing to do with America. Actually in America it's their business, they like wars because they sell a lot of armour so it's good for them."

Ecclestone also claimed Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, ought to have made more of an effort to engage with Putin.

He said: "I mean, the other person in Ukraine, I mean his profession I understand, he used to be a comedian and it seems he wants to continue that profession because I think if he had thought about things he would have definitely made a big enough effort to speak to Mr Putin, who is a sensible person and would have listened to him and could have probably done something about it."

Ecclestone added: "I'm quite sure if Ukraine would have wanted to get out of it properly they could have done."

Asked about the Russian Grand Prix being removed from the calendar and Russian drivers from being banned, Ecclestone replied: "I'm not in the position now to have done anything about that.

"I'm not sure I would have stopped that, and I certainly now wouldn't, and I think it's wrong, to stop Russian athletes, including obviously drivers, in taking part in their sport.

"They didn't get involved in this in the first place. They shouldn't be punished."

Former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has issued a blunt verdict on Charles Leclerc's title hopes and has declared those backing Ferrari this season will "get nothing".

Red Bull's defending champion Max Verstappen has won six of the nine races so far this season to establish a dominant 49-point advantage over Leclerc – who is also three points adrift of Sergio Perez – in the drivers' championship.

That deficit has come amid a huge swing in the standings, with Leclerc previously holding a 46-point advantage over Verstappen following the opening three rounds of the season as the Dutch driver was forced to retire from two of those races.

However, Leclerc's most recent victory came in Australia in April and Verstappen has won five of the six races since, with Ecclestone stating he now has it "easy".

"Errors are creeping in again. The reliability we are seeing is often reminiscent of the old days and the drivers themselves are not always confident on the track," he told Blick.

"It means Max is having an easy time in the Red Bull with six wins already."

Ecclestone added that he had wanted to see Ferrari perform better in the 2022 season but early showings have ultimately led him to write off the team's chances.

"Like many people, I had hoped that Ferrari would succeed again after more than 14 years," he said.

"Unfortunately, I have to say that anyone who continues to put their money on Ferrari or Leclerc will get nothing."

Ferrari have not won the constructors' championship since 2008 and, from 1999 to 2008, had clinched the title in eight of the ten seasons.

Kimi Raikkonen was the last Ferrari driver to win the drivers' championship with his triumph in 2007, and is the only driver to win with Ferrari since Michael Schumacher's last success in 2004.

Bernie Ecclestone believes Lewis Hamilton could be poised to retire from Formula One after the heartache of losing the world championship in Abu Dhabi.

Long-time F1 supremo Ecclestone, who left his role as chief executive in January 2017, said he had spoken to Hamilton's father, Anthony, since the British driver was pipped to title glory by Max Verstappen.

Although he gained no direct insight into the seven-time world champion's future plans from that call, Ecclestone told Swiss newspaper Blick he thinks Hamilton may have made his mind up to quit.

"I don't know it, but I don't think he's coming back," Ecclestone said. "His disappointment is too great. And you can somehow understand it. Now it would be the time, with seven world championship titles like Michael Schumacher, to tackle his dream of becoming a fashion entrepreneur."

He said of his telephone call with Hamilton's father: "I immediately felt that he wouldn't answer a question about his son's future. So we only talked about business."

Mercedes superstar Hamilton, who turns 37 in January, was struck by deep disappointment when he was denied a record-breaking eighth F1 title in controversial fashion at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on December 12.

Verstappen, on new tyres, passed race leader Hamilton on the final lap after the safety car had been deployed when Nicholas Latifi crashed. Hamilton and Verstappen had been tied on points coming into the race, making it a straight shoot-out for the championship.

The decision-making from race director Michael Masi that allowed for one lap of racing in such circumstances came in for criticism, particularly from the Mercedes team, but appeals to race stewards failed to change the result.

Hamilton's Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has since said he hopes the man whose F1 career began in 2007 will not quit the sport after this setback.

The former McLaren star is due to partner George Russell next season, with the campaign scheduled to begin in Bahrain in March.

Hamilton is the only driver to achieve both 100 F1 poles and a century of race wins, and Wolff said he "would very much hope" that his star driver would be back for more in the new year.

Speaking last week, after Mercedes decided against taking an appeal to the courts, Wolff said: "It is going to take a long time for us to digest what has happened. I don't think we will ever get over it. That's not possible – and certainly not as a driver."

Ecclestone suggested Hamilton "could only lose" if he returns to the cockpit in 2022, and the 91-year-old has been impressed by the rise of Verstappen.

"With him, Hamilton has finally found an equal opponent after many years," Ecclestone said.

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