Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton was racially abused and called a cheat on social media after he won the British Grand Prix. Hamilton was subjected to the hate following his crash with arch rival Max Verstappen during the opening lap.
Hamilton grabbed the eighth title on home soil at Silverstone by overtaking Charles Leclerc in the closing stages of the race. Following the crash, Verstappen was rushed to the hospital.
Hamilton Called Cheat on Social Media
While clashing for the title, the two front runners Hamilton and Verstappen went wheel to wheel across the opening lap at Silverstone. They touched as Hamilton tried to pass up the inside of the Copse corner, causing the crash. Hamilton had received a 10-second penalty from the race stewards for causing a collision.
The abuse and cheating accusations started after Hamilton, who has over 23 millions followers on Instagram, posted a picture after winning the cup. While some of the angry users responded with monkey and gorilla emojis few other shamed him for celebrating.
"Today is a reminder of the dangers we face in this sport and we should never take lightly the risks. I send my best wishes to Max who is an incredible competitor and I'm glad to hear he is ok. I will always race hard but always fairly," Hamilton wrote adding that he was proud of his achievement.
However, the caption did not go down well with the angry social media users. "
Nah you didnt deserve this one, you know that," a user commented as another added, "
race fairly? explain how that was racing fairly today/"
"How are you proud of what you've achieved today??" read a comment. "Undeserved win."
"How to win a race, 1 crash into your championship rival 2 repair your car under red flag 3 take 10s penalty 4 get team orders handed to you 5 win a race to a broken Ferrari Wel done Lewis!" read another comment.
"Almost killed Max, wrecked his car again win because of cheat. Biggest f**ing a**hole has ever been in F1. F**k you FIA for that funny penalty for that moron. How deep seats judges in Mercedes pockets?" tweeted a user.
Mercedes, Formula One and FIA Issue Joint Statement
As the abuse grew on social media, Mercedes, F1 and governing body the FIA issued a joint statement condemning the abuse "in the strongest possible terms".
"These people have no place in our sport," read a joint statement. "We urge that those responsible should be held accountable for their actions. Formula One, 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," read the statement according to The Guardian.
The Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, said: "Lewis is a seven-times world champion and that was an amateur's mistake and a desperate mistake. We were very lucky someone wasn't seriously injured."
Accusing Hamilton of unsportsmanlike behavior, Verstappen, who was discharged from the hospital, tweeted: "Glad I am Okay. 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 behaviour but we move on."