Formula One Driver Lewis Hamilton Racially Abused After British Grand Prix Victory
After crashing into another driver in the British Grand Prix and later winning the race, star Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton was targeted with racial abuse online.
Hamilton is the only black driver in Formula One racing. Formula One, Mercedes-AMG Petronas and the International Automobile Federation all released a joint statement condemning the racial taunts.
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) July 19, 2021
Sky Sports reported racist messages consisting of “monkey emojis” and other slurs that were commented on an Instagram post by the Mercedes team celebrating Hamilton’s victory.
A spokesperson for Facebook, owner of Instagram, made a statement to CBS News calling the abuse “unacceptable” and noted the removal of any comments made.
The spokesperson stated, “No single thing will fix this challenge overnight but we’re committed to the work to keep our community safe from abuse.”
McLaren and Aston Martin were among the other F1 teams that provided supportive messages to Hamilton.
McLaren said, “Racism must be driven out of our sport, and it’s our shared responsibility to unite and eliminate it.”
Hamilton’s collision in the race was with rival Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing. The incident occurred in the first lap and resulted in Verstappen being sent to the hospital. Hamilton overcame the 10-second penalty he was given and recorded his eighth career victory at the British Grand Prix.
Verstappen was outspoken about the situation, calling Hamilton’s move which resulted in the accident “dangerous.” Verstappen also was unhappy with Hamilton’s “unsportsmanlike” celebrations after his victory.
Hamilton tweeted after the victory and explained that the incident with Verstappen was a “reminder of the dangers of this sport.”
“I send my best wishes to Max who is an incredible competitor,” said Hamilton. “I’m glad to hear he is ok. I will always race hard but always fairly. My team showed grit and perseverance out there. It’s a dream to win in front of my home crowd.”
Hamilton is 36 years old and is widely considered one of the greatest drivers in the sport. The driver has been an outspoken supporter of Black Lives Matter. He has knelt on one knee in support of the protests begun by Colin Kapernick and worn a shirt calling for the justice for Breonna Taylor.