Hamilton inspired by 'beautiful' Serena in Nastase row

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton said of tennis star Serena Williams "I just think she's awesome"

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."