Formula One condemns racist abuse sent to Lewis Hamilton on social media

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Mercedes, Formula One and its governing body the FIA have issued a joint statement condemning the online racist abuse aimed at Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton, 36, was targeted following his crash with rival Max Verstappen on the opening lap of Sunday’s British Grand Prix.

The seven-time world champion delivered a superb comeback drive to record his eighth win on home soil, while Verstappen was taken to hospital following the 190mph shunt which registered at 51G.

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Red Bull said he was released from hospital at 10pm on Sunday night “without major injuries”.

The statement 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 One, 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.

Lewis Hamilton won a dramatic race at Silverstone
Lewis Hamilton won a dramatic race at Silverstone (Tim Goode/PA)

“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.”

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said: “We have seen it in the football at the European Championship and the abuse is absolutely not acceptable, and it is the same yesterday.

“I still question whether some just don’t get it. This is not acceptable and we will react to it.”

Hamilton was handed a 10-second penalty for the accident with Verstappen after the stewards adjudged him to be “predominantly at fault”.

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The abuse came from a number of countries and started during Sunday’s race in response to posts from both F1 and Mercedes’ social media platforms.

It is understood that F1 is compiling a dossier of the offensive posts and will raise them directly with the platforms and call on them to take stringent action.

Verstappen’s Red Bull team also issued a statement criticising the attacks on Hamilton.

“While we may be fierce rivals on-track, we are all united against racism,” the Milton Keynes team said.

“We condemn racist abuse of any kind towards our teams, our competitors and our fans.

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“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.”

Last week, Hamilton issued a post after Marcus Rashford, Jordan Sancho and Bukayo Saka were racially abused following England’s Euro 2020 final defeat against Italy at Wembley.

He wrote: “The racial abuse on social media towards our players after yesterday’s game is unacceptable. This sort of ignorance has to be stopped.

“Tolerance and respect for players of colour should not be conditional. Our humanity should not be conditional.”

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Oliver Dowden, the secretary of state for culture, media and sport, said he was “sick to death” of seeing racist abuse online.

A joint committee of MPs is being established to scrutinise the new Online Safety Bill and Dowden promised the proposed new laws would “deal with” messages such as those received by Hamilton, but warned that social media companies themselves “must act now”.

In a series of tweets, Dowden wrote: “It’s clear that this issue isn’t fixed as some companies have claimed. Once again we saw racist comments and emojis aimed at our sports stars this weekend.

“I’ve been asked if the new Online Safety laws will make social media firms deal with abuse like this and I can confirm that it will.

“However, social media companies can and must act now. We’re all sick to death of seeing the bile and the threats. It’s time for platforms to turn the tide on racist abuse.”

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