The FIA, Formula 1 and Mercedes have issued a joint statement in which they condemn “in the strongest possible terms” the racist abuse suffered on social media by Lewis Hamilton after the British Grand Prix.
The run-in between Hamilton and Max Verstappen on the opening lap of Sunday’s controversial race has sparked a raging debate over each driver’s responsibility in the crash.
Hamilton was deemed accountable by the stewards who hit the Mercedes driver with a 10-second penalty for “causing a collision”, but the Briton recovered from the setback to clinch his 99th career win in F1.
In opposing camps, Red Bull and Mercedes defended their respective drivers while Verstappen, who was sent to Coventry Hospital for a precautionary check-up, kept the dispute alive with a tweet in which the Dutchman took aim at Hamilton’s “disrespectful and unsportsmanlike” post-race celebrations.
But while the debate raged on in the paddock, the controversy got well out of hand – as usual – on social media, where a wave of inflammatory criticism was directed at both drivers.
But the comments also featured an abundance of racist and abusive words, slurs and monkey emojis aimed specifically at Hamilton.
The unacceptable behaviour compelled the FIA, Formula 1 and the Mercedes team to issue on Monday morning a joint statement condemning the hideous abuse.
“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,” read the statement.
“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 Racing also condemned the abuse directed at Hamilton, insisting it stood united against racism.
“While we may be fierce rivals on-track, we are all united against racism,” said the Milton Keynes-based outfit. “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.”
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