Formula One: Hamilton inspired by "beautiful" Serena in Nastase row

Lewis Hamilton on Thursday said he felt inspired by Serena Williams's "beautiful" reaction to being a victim of racial abuse by former tennis champion Ilie Nastase.

The three-time world champion driver, who is a close friend of the 23-time Grand Slam winning tennis player, praised the American as a "powerful, independent black woman".

Nastase, a former French and US Open champion, was heard saying of the pregnant Williams' baby, due later this year: "Let's see what colour it has. Chocolate with milk?"

Williams responded saying: "It disappoints me to know we live in a society where people like Ilie Nastase can make such racist comments towards myself and unborn child."

Hamilton re-posted her Instagram message and spoke out in support of her when he told reporters at the Russian Grand Prix on Thursday: "I'm very much with her in what she said.

"I thought it was beautiful what she wrote as a powerful, independent black woman. I just think she's awesome.

"She's not only one of the greatest people I know, but she's just a born leader and so, rather than react in a negative way, reading what she's written just inspires me -- and hopefully inspires others."