BRITISH F1 star Lewis Hamilton has been slammed by Spain over his incendiary bullfighting remarks.
The Mercedes-AMG Petronas driver, 35, posted a picture of a bloodied bull online with the caption: “This is truly disgusting Spain.”
The six-time world champion added: “Kids in Spain are taught to torture and kill bulls – starting at age 14.
“We’re asking Spain’s Ministry of Education to close bullfighting schools, immediately!”
The vegan racer has been supporting a PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) campaign against kids taking part in bullfights.
It comes after Hamilton has also lent his voice to the Black Lives Matter movement in recent weeks.
His bullfighting comments drew the scorn of several high profile figures in Spain, including well-known torero Cayetano Rivera Ordoñez.
Cayetano said: “Mr Lewis Hamilton doesn’t like bullfights… So?
“Anyways, before criticising someone else’s culture, you should at least learn more about what you’re talking about.
“Respect ! And don’t let the rascals fool you!”
Another leading bullfighter Fran Rivera also hit out at Hamilton.
He said: “He is a person who has no idea what he is talking about, the first thing he should have to do is inform himself.
“He is past arrogance, exceeds pride, and ignorance. I think it is an attack and a lack of respect for Spain, for all Spaniards and for our traditions.
“He has not given a minute of his life to stop by a bullfighting school and see what is taught there.”
Hamilton’s comments were deemed so offensive that the Spanish Minister of Culture and Sport, Jose Manuel Rodriguez Uribes also waded into the row.
The politician said: “They are offensive words and attack people who have a hobby and a positive feeling towards a practice that in our country it has cultural consideration.
“They are statements that do not help communication and understanding.”
The coronavirus pandemic has thrown the spotlight on bullfighting, which like most other activities ceased as Spain went into lockdown on March 14.
The bloodsport has now been allowed to resume, although only at half capacity, while some regions with more freedom may allow 800 people into events.
The tradition has fallen on hard times recently and matadors and bullfighting fans have called on the Government to protect the bloody spectacle.
Protestors took the streets of Sevilla, Barcelona and Madrid on Saturday to demand action from the Government.
An El Espanol poll last year showed that 56% of Spain is against bullfighting, 24.7% in favour, and 18.9% indifferent.