Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Racists Target Lewis Hamilton After British Grand Prix victory

Lewis Hamilton via Twitter
Lewis Hamilton

*Lewis Hamilton has been targeted by racist abuse on social media after his victory at Sunday’s British Grand Prix.

A joint statement from Hamilton’s team Mercedes, F1, and the sports’ governing body the FIA condemned the abuse “in the strongest possible terms”.

“These people have no place in our sport,” read the statement.

“We urge that those responsible should be held accountable for their actions.

“Formula One, 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.”

Hamilton received a 10-second penalty after a collision with title rival Max Verstappen during the first lap of the race, which caused Max to crash out.

Verstappen called Hamilton “disrespectful and unsportsmanlike” for celebrating his victory.

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After the win, Hamilton addressed the crowd at Silverstone, telling fans: “This is a dream for me today, to do it in front of you all. I always try to be measured in how I approach, particularly with battling with Max, he’s very aggressive. And then today I was fully alongside him and he didn’t leave space.

“Regardless of whether I agree with the penalty, I take it on the chin and I just kept working. I was like ‘I’m not going to let anything get in the way of the crowd’s enjoyment of the weekend and the national anthem and the British flag’.”

Facebook said it removed several racist and abusive comments from its platform related to Hamilton. 

“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,” a Facebook company spokesperson told CNN Sport.

“No single thing will fix this challenge overnight but we’re committed to the work to keep our community safe from abuse.”

The racist comments come less than a week after Hamilton – the only driver of color in the history of Formula 1 – spoke out against the racial abuse of England footballers Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford after the Euros final.

“The pressure to deliver is felt by every sportsperson but when you are a minority representing your country this is a layered experience,” he’d said. “Success would feel like a double victory, but a miss feels like a two-fold failure when it’s compounded with racist abuse.” 

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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