Lewis Hamilton has sparked controversy by telling his young nephew: "Boys don't wear princess dresses."

The Formula One driver, an avid user on social media, took to his Instagram account on Christmas Day to publicly highlight the youngster's choice of attire, the Daily Mail reported.

Hamilton's nephew opted to don a pink and purple princess dress for the big day on Monday, and looked chuffed with his costume while waving around a pink wand.

But the Brit questioned the outfit, and jokingly criticised the young boy by including him on his Christmas Day Instagram story.

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Hamilton, who captioned the post using an embarrassed monkey emoji, said: "I'm so sad right now — look at my nephew."

He then asked the youngster: "Why are you wearing a princess dress? Is this what you got for Christmas?

"Why did you ask for a princess dress for Christmas?"

The 32-year-old was celebrating the festive period abroad and ended his video by controversially claiming: "Boys don't wear princess dresses!"

Twitter user JustNabz posted the video, captioned "Oh dear Lewis, you've just opened a can of worms" and criticised the British sports star.

They later wrote: "I don't care what Lewis' beliefs are, you can't publicly put down a CHILD for innocently liking what they like or wanting what they want, especially when you're an icon and someone who kids look up to, respect and admire.

"Kids are kids! Everything they do is so pure and untainted by society's standards. You can't crush their happiness and create insecurities. Like just let them be and discover themselves."

Social media was divided on Hamilton's post, with some users hitting out at the four-time F1 world champion for publicly shaming the youngster.

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The Instagram post received a mixed reaction. Photo / via Instagram
The Instagram post received a mixed reaction. Photo / via Instagram

One user wrote: "As long as that child is fit, health and doing no harm to anyone.... whats the drama?"

Another account added: "The kid is happy. Maybe boys don't wear princess dresses but you've worn silly outfits as well. It is what it is. Be happy, it's Christmas."

But Hamilton was also defended, with one fan claiming: "Yeah, let's all blow this out of proportion!! If it was Dave from the market no one would bat an eyelid."

"Oh calm down, he's just having a laugh with his nephew, while also spreading an important message," read another tweet on the thread.

Hamilton later deleted the post from his Instagram account.