Formula One ace and reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton has received racist abuse online after winning the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on Sunday, where he crashed with rival Max Verstappen on the first lap.
The incident immediately caused controversy, with championship leader Verstappen criticizing his foe online following the race, which Hamilton won.
“Glad I’m ok,” the Dutchman wrote on Twitter.
“Very disappointed with being taken out like this. The penalty given does not help us and doesn’t do justice to the dangerous move Lewis made on track.”
“Watching the celebrations while still in hospital is disrespectful and unsportsmanlike behavior but we move on,” he finished.
Glad I’m ok. Very disappointed with being taken out like this. The penalty given does not help us and doesn’t do justice to the dangerous move Lewis made on track. Watching the celebrations while still in hospital is disrespectful and unsportsmanlike behavior but we move on pic.twitter.com/iCrgyYWYkm
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) July 18, 2021
Later, the 23-year-old offered another update as he said: “Cleared from the hospital after all the checks were ok.
Hamilton, however, who clipped Verstappen and caused him to crash into the tire wall at around 140mph, received no such treatment from the darkest corners of the internet upon clinching his eighth victory at Silverstone to remain its all-time winner by some distance.
Echoing abuse received by Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho for missing penalties against Italy in the Euro 2020 final just a week ago, Hamilton’s Instagram was hit with monkey and gorilla emojis.
“I was his fan before this race! Very bad…Sir Lewis Hamilton,” read one message, while accompanied by such graphics.
Cleared from the hospital after all the checks were ok. Thank you to everyone for all the nice messages and best wishes 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/zBlfbQ8uh4
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) July 18, 2021
Condemning the abuse, Formula One released a statement in conjunction with the FIA and Hamilton’s Mercedes-AMG Petronas team.
“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,” it began.
“Formula 1, The FIA and Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team condemn this behavior 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,” it finished.
Opinion and rivalry are central to our sport. But there is absolutely no place for racism or discriminatory abuse
We will work to hold anyone promoting such views to account. We urge people to show respect and basic humanity; and to report any examples below those standards https://t.co/8DJVC1hOco
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 19, 2021
An easy target for trolls, Hamilton has frequently spoken out against the lack of diversity in his “white-dominated” sport, and received the first ever Laureus Athlete Advocate of the Year award earlier in 2021 for his involvement in the battle against racism.
Elsewhere, though, he has received criticism from Red Bull chief Christian Horner, who answered “of course” when asked if Hamilton’s actions yesterday could have killed his best driver in Verstappen.
“His actions have put in jeopardy another driver’s safety and for me that is unacceptable,” Horner answered.
“Every driver knows that a move at that corner — one of the fastest in Formula One — is a massive, massive risk.
Gonna say it like it is. Christian Horner, Max Verstappen and the whole of Red Bull's inner circle made entirely irresponsible statements yesterday, that have today emboldened and encouraged racist abuse towards Lewis Hamilton. They could've chosen to be better. #BritishGP
— t. (@IscoDeewane) July 19, 2021
Today is a reminder of the dangers in this sport. I send my best wishes to Max who is an incredible competitor. 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💜🇬🇧 pic.twitter.com/3S16uFYmDZ
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) July 18, 2021
“You don’t put a wheel up the inside without there being huge consequences. We are lucky today that there wasn’t someone seriously hurt,” Horner continued, as Hamilton’s fans accused him of encouraging the racists with his words.
“What I am most angry about is the lack of judgment, and the desperation in this move. It was never on.”
Addressing the matter himself, Hamilton was defiant and adamant he had nothing to apologize for.
“Today is a reminder of the dangers in this sport. I send my best wishes to Max who is an incredible competitor. I’m glad to hear he is OK,” he said on Twitter.
“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,” the 36-year-old concluded.