Lewis Hamilton's father has hit back at those who continue to use the family's colour as a target for abuse, warning that every insult and slur thrown their way only serves to make the McLaren driver stronger and more determined.
Speaking in an interview with the UK's Guardian
newspaper, Anthony Hamilton revealed that abuse that resurfaced on a Spanish website in the run-up to the Formula One season finale at Interlagos on Sunday continued once the family had arrived in Brazil, although he tried his best to keep his son's attention on the race. Amid claims that websites were encouraging anti-Hamilton fans to indulge in voodoo methods to prevent him from winning the world title - and worse - the unsuspecting family was handed black cat toys as they attended various functions in Sao Paolo, unaware that, unlike at home, they represent bad luck in Brazilian culture.
"I thought that was extremely unprofessional," Hamilton Sr commented, unhappy that Lewis' 16-year old brother had also been targeted, "But do you know what they fail to realise? We've a black cat at home and she has been extremely positive for us!"
Hamilton admitted that the extent of the abuse had caused him to have second thoughts about having encouraged his son into the public eye, but insisted that they now preferred to use it as an incentive to get even better.
"My family has taken a lot of stick this past week - not just this week, but [over] the past few months," he said, "I did think that maybe this isn't the place for my family because, as a parent, you make sure you do right for your family and kids.
"But I never said anything to Lewis. I kept it to myself, even though I was going home thinking 'I didn't think the world was quite like this'. And then you think 'It's just the way it is' and I'd send Lewis a text saying 'whatever happens, people love you'. The negative people are a small percentage, and even the negative ones have a heart.
"We came into this to do a decent job and we deserve to be here. If people like us, then great. If [they] don't, then I am sad for them and maybe God will forgive them. We are decent people and remain decent people. I just don't understand why our message gets missed.
"But, when things go against you, you rise above it and get stronger and stronger. Everything negative thrown at us is just huge positive energy. It's like fuel, the more you give us the more it fuels us, and it's brilliant. You can't run and hide."