Hamilton targeted by online racist abuse as Formula 1, FIA and Mercedes call for action

By Sports Desk July 19, 2021

Formula 1, the FIA and Mercedes have released a joint statement condemning the "unacceptable" online racist abuse aimed at Lewis Hamilton following his collision with Max Verstappen.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton claimed a dramatic victory in Sunday's home British Grand Prix at Silverstone after overtaking Charles Leclerc late in the race.

The 36-year-old recovered from a 10-second time penalty handed to him for a first-lap crash with Verstappen as he cut his title rival's championship lead to only eight points.

Hamilton was accused of "dirty driving" by Red Bull boss Christian Horner after clipping Verstappen on Copse Corner, while the Belgian-born Dutch driver labelled his opponent "disrespectful and unsportsmanlike".

Verstappen required hospital checks after hitting the safety barriers in an impact measuring 51G, but he was released later on Sunday after being given the all-clear.

After Hamilton went on to win the race for an eighth time in his illustrious career, the Englishman was subjected to vile racist abuse on Instagram in the comments section of a post by Mercedes celebrating the victory.

Mercedes, Formula 1 and the sport's governing body the FIA united on Monday to call for action to be taken against those responsible for posting the racial slurs.

"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," the statement read.

"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."

Hamilton recently voiced his support for Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho after the England footballers were also subjected to racist abuse on social media after missing penalties in their side's Euro 2020 final shoot-out defeat to Italy.

The England international trio called on social media giants Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to do more to tackle problem users on their platforms.

Speaking last year, Hamilton also called for increased diversity in Formula 1 and accused the sport of not doing enough to tackle racism amid the George Floyd protests.

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  • Mercedes head to Russia excited for run-in despite Hamilton drought Mercedes head to Russia excited for run-in despite Hamilton drought

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    LAST TIME OUT

    Neither Verstappen nor Hamilton finished in Italy after a remarkable crash that saw the Dutchman's car land on top of his rival's halo.

    Both drivers were forced to retire, with Hamilton telling of how he was "so grateful I am still here" and "incredibly blessed that someone was watching over me".

    "I don't think I've ever been hit on the head by a car before," he said. "And it is quite a big shock for me."

    With the two leading men ruled out, McLaren capitalised with a stunning one-two – their first since the 2010 Canadian GP.

    Having just slipped behind rivals Ferrari in the standings, it was a huge result for the British outfit, as they moved back up to third.

    WHAT TO EXPECT IN RUSSIA

    It will be interesting to see how Verstappen and Hamilton approach this race, surely keen to avoid a repeat of Monza but also unable to risk taking their foot of the pedal in this tense tussle.

    Mercedes have won every previous Russian GP, although they have been the outstanding team in each of those seasons. Now they face a real challenge.

    The battle between McLaren and Ferrari is just as tense, although Bottas is maintaining a gap to Lando Norris after finishing third twice.

    TOP FIVE OPTA FACTS

    Mercedes dominant – With four wins for Hamilton, two for Bottas and one for Nico Rosberg, Mercedes have a 100 per cent record in Sochi. No team have won more races at a single grand prix without failing.

    Hamilton at home – Hamilton has reached the podium in seven of his seven entries, registering a record four wins. His worst result was fourth in 2017.

    Bottas from behind – Five of the seven winners have started on the front row, with Bottas' two victories after qualifying third the exceptions.

    Ferrari frustration – Only in Abu Dhabi (12) have Ferrari made more appearances without winning ever than in Russia (seven). They have had two pole positions, two fastest laps and six podiums.

    Tight at the top – The gap of five points between Verstappen and Hamilton is the closest the top two have been after 14 races since the 2016 battle between Hamilton and Rosberg (two points).

    CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

    Drivers

    1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 226.5
    2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 221.5
    3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 141
    4. Lando Norris (McLaren) – 132
    5. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – 118

    Constructors

    1. Mercedes – 362.5
    2. Red Bull – 344.5
    3. McLaren – 215
    4. Ferrari – 201.5
    5. Alpine – 95

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