Five-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has called for tougher action to be taken in the fight to tackle racism.

Britain’s most successful racing driver, who was also the first black driver in the history of the sport, has regularly talked openly about suffering from racist abuse while growing up and even since reaching F1.

Hamilton took to social media to condemn the “despicable” racist abuse several England football players were subjected to during a qualifying match for the Euro 2020 tournament against Montenegro on Monday.

“It’s not only to players, it’s crazy to think that in this time in the world it’s still really, really prominent,” Hamilton said when questioned about his response ahead of this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

“It’s really there all around the world, racism is still a real issue, which is sad to see.  It doesn’t seem like it’s going to be migrating much over the next years but it’s great to see people standing by, people in support.

“It doesn’t look like something that’s going to particularly change for a long time.

Lewis Hamilton gets to know Shanghai

“People just need to stand up for it more,” he added. “I just remember being at school when I was younger and people just got a slap on the hand for it, it’s just kind of let slide.

“I don’t think that should happen anywhere, I think action should be taken and people should be a lot stricter with it. I don’t have an answer exactly how it is but it starts from the parents passing on to kids and then it continues on.”

Hamilton has often used his prominent status in F1 to share his views on a number of social and humanitarian issues, including subjects such as animal welfare. In the last year he has also called for greater diversity in his own sport.

Asked if he feels like he has a responsibility in his social media usage, Hamilton replied: “I don’t feel like I have a responsibility as such.

“I definitely feel that I’m in a privileged position that I do happen to have quite an audience, that’s quite a lot of power, particularly with social media.

“There are things I see all the time… there’s a lot of stuff that I don’t post that I want to post. You have to keep it balanced as I have old followers and young followers and choosing what you do show and don’t show, but there’s so many issues around the world today.

“There are some things and I’m able to put it on social media that people are able to react to and create conversation and I think many people with the following that I have and much more have a lot of power in making it a talking point and creating an opinion and hopefully steering change."