Lewis Hamilton receives online racist abuse following dramatic British GP win on Sunday; Formula 1, the FIA and Mercedes condemn the abuse and call for action to be taken against those responsible; seven-time Formula 1 world champion is a high-profile voice in the fight against racism
Monday 19 July 2021 13:09, UK
Lewis Hamilton has been targeted with online racist abuse hours after winning the British Grand Prix for the eighth time.
Hamilton claimed victory by overtaking long-time leader Charles Leclerc late on in front of 140,000 spectators at Silverstone.
The 36-year-old recovered from a 10-second time penalty for a huge first-lap crash with title rival Max Verstappen on a dramatic afternoon.
Racist messages including 'monkey emojis' and other racial slurs were sent as replies to a post by the Mercedes team on Instagram celebrating Hamilton's success.
Facebook - the parent company of Instagram - told Sky Sports News: "The racist abuse directed at Lewis Hamilton during and after the British Grand Prix is unacceptable and we've removed a number of comments from Instagram.
"In addition to our work to remove comments and accounts that repeatedly break our rules, there are safety features available, including Comment Filters and Message Controls, which can mean no one has to see this type of abuse.
"No single thing will fix this challenge overnight but we're committed to the work to keep our community safe from abuse."
Formula 1, the FIA and Mercedes released a joint statement condemning the abuse and called for action to be taken against those responsible.
It read: "During, and after, yesterday's British Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton was subjected to multiple instances of racist abuse on social media following an in-race collision.
"Formula 1, The FIA and Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team condemn this behaviour in the strongest possible terms.
"These people have no place in our sport and we urge that those responsible should be held accountable for their actions.
"Formula 1, the FIA, the drivers and the teams are working to build a more diverse and inclusive sport, and such unacceptable instances of online abuse must be highlighted and eliminated."
On Monday, Red Bull and McLaren, Hamilton's former team, also released statements condemning the abuse.
A Red Bull statement said: "While we may be fierce rivals on-track, we are all united against racism.
"We condemn racist abuse of any kind towards our team, our competitors and our fans. As a team, we are disgusted and saddened to witness the racist abuse Lewis endured yesterday on social media after the collision with Max.
"There is never any excuse for it, there is certainly no place for it in our sport and those responsible should be held accountable."
A McLaren statement read: "McLaren stands with Formula 1, the FIA, and our fellow teams and drivers in condemning the deplorable racist abuse towards Lewis Hamilton.
"Racism must be driven out of our sport, and it's our shared responsibility to unite and eliminate it."
Seven-time world champion Hamilton has consistently been outspoken against racial inequality throughout his career, most recently voicing support for Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, after they missed penalties in the Euro 2020 final and as a result were subjected to a torrent of racist abuse on social media.
Hamilton has been a high-profile voice in the fight against racism and called for tangible action to create a more diverse and inclusive society.
The Hamilton Commission, the body the Mercedes driver established with the Royal Academy of Engineering to look into the barriers to more representation of black people in motorsport, this week presented its findings and made 10 recommendations for the future to improve opportunities both in the motorsport industry and the UK's education system.
Hamilton has said he is personally committed to helping put the recommendations into action and, in an interview with Sky Sports F1 at the British GP, said of the idea of his commission: "It's all been about understanding. So I was asking a lot of questions for a long, long time, for years. Why am I one of the very few people of colour here? There was never a good answer, no one ever knew.
"No one was going to do the work so it was a perfect opportunity for me. I was like, 'I'm going to do the work and get the research in'. For me, I really wanted to understand the root of the cause so that I could know better but also the industry, we can go on a journey together.
"So it's great to see what Formula 1 are coming out with [scholarship programmes for underrepresented groups were announced this week] and I know the FIA will be following with something soon.
"But that's kind of pre-emptive, that's not done with this research, so now they'll have these findings to be really able to back up and make sure that it's sufficient so we are really getting to the root of the cause and making real tangible changes."
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