Sports Desk, Jul 19 (EFE).- Defending Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton was subjected to racist abuse on social media following his British Grand Prix crash with title-challenger Max Verstappen.
In a joint statement Monday, Formula One, its governing body FIA and the Mercedes-AMG Petronas condemned the racist 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, the only Black driver in competitive F1 history, is currently on the hunt for what would be a record-breaking eighth world championship, one more than was won by the legendary Michael Schumacher.
This year’s title race is between him and Red Bull’s Verstappen.
During the first lap of the British GP at Silverstone on Sunday, Hamilton’s Mercedes clipped Verstappen’s Red Bull on Copse corner, sending the Dutchman flying off the track and into the barriers.
Hamilton was handed a 10-second penalty and Verstappen was taken to hospital for medical checks.
The British racer went onto win on home soil but his celebrations after the race prompted criticism from the Dutchman, who wrote on social media: “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.”
With the win, Hamilton narrowed the gap to Verstappen down to eight points.
The debate about online racism in UK sport took over the national conversation in recent weeks following the deluge of abuse leveled at three Black England players after the national team was dumped from the Euro 2020 final by Italy on penalties.
It prompted the UK government to push for tougher rules to ban anyone found guilty of posting racist comments online from attending football matches in England. EFE