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

By Daniel Lewis

London, July 19: 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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Story first published: Monday, July 19, 2021, 13:50 [IST]
Other articles published on Jul 19, 2021