19 Jul Lewis Hamilton targeted by racists online after British Grand Prix win and Max Verstappen crash | UK News
Lewis Hamilton has received racist abuse online after winning the British Grand Prix after a dramatic first lap crash with Max Verstappen.
Verstappen, 23, was taken to hospital after his Red Bull car was tagged by the Mercedes as it overtook on entry to Silverstone’s Copse corner at 180mph on Sunday.
The Dutch driver, who later described it as a “dangerous move”, was sent out of control and crashed into the wall, leaving Hamilton, 36, with a 10-second time penalty for causing a collision.
In the hours after the race, racial slurs and monkey emojis appeared on the Mercedes team’s celebratory Instagram post.
Formula One, the FIA and Mercedes released a joint statement “condemning this behaviour in the strongest possible terms”.
“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,” they wrote.
“These people have no place in our sport and we urge that those responsible should be held accountable for their actions.”
He takes a knee before all races and has recently commissioned a self-titled report into representation of ethnic minority communities in racing.
The Hamilton Commission found that black people make up less than 1% of the workforce in UK motor racing.
In an interview with Sky Sports at Silverstone, Hamilton said of the report: “I was asking a lot of questions for a long, long time, for years. Why am I one of the very few people of colour here? There was never a good answer, no one ever knew.
“No one was going to do the work so it was the perfect opportunity for me. I was like ‘I’m going to do the work and get the research in’.
“For me I really wanted to understand the root of the cause so that I could know better but also the industry, we can go on a journey together.”
Verstappen stayed in the cockpit for a few minutes after the crash before emerging and being taken away in an ambulance.
Hamilton asked over his radio: “Is Max okay?”, to which Mercedes race engineer Peter Bonnington replied: “He is out of the car.”
Hamilton told his Mercedes team the position in the corner was his and the collision was not his fault.
“I was ahead going in there,” he said. “I was fully inside, it was my line, and he turned in on me.”
Following his 10-second penalty, Hamilton managed to pass Ferrari’s second place Charles Leclerc with just two-and-a-half laps to go.
Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton’s teammate, came third after obeying team orders to let Hamilton through and chase Leclerc to the chequered flag.
But after being “taken to a local hospital for further cautionary tests”, Verstappen posted on social media saying Hamilton’s move had been “dangerous” and his victory celebrations were “disrespectful and unsportsmanlike”.
Celebrating his win, Hamilton said: “This is a dream for me today, to do it in front of you all.
“I always try to be measured in how I approach, particularly with battling with Max, he’s very aggressive. And then today I was fully alongside him and he didn’t leave space.”
Speaking to the biggest crowd to attend a sporting event in Britain since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Hamilton continued: “Regardless of whether I agree with the penalty, I take it on the chin and I just kept working.
“I was like ‘I’m not going to let anything get in the way of the crowd’s enjoyment of the weekend and the national anthem and the British flag’.”
However, Red Bull boss Christian Horner fully blamed Hamilton for the crash, telling race control: “That’s an enormous accident and it was 100% Max’s corner.
“As far as I’m concerned, full blame lies on Hamilton. You could have had a massive accident and thank God he walks away unscathed. I hope you are going to deal with it properly.”
Hamilton’s win – his eighth on home turf – moved him to within eight points of Verstappen in the drivers world championship.
It was also the 99th win of his Formula One career and fourth of the current campaign.
Verstappen had won three consecutive races heading into the British Grand Prix.
But Sunday’s outcome was the worst possible result for the current leader, who had started on pole position with a 33-point lead and was seeking a fourth win in a row – but instead was left with zero points.