Hamilton calls out social media platforms over Latifi F1 abuse

Lewis Hamilton has called on social media platforms to do more to combat abuse after Williams Formula 1 driver Nicholas Latifi received death threats in the aftermath of last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. 
Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes AMG F1
Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes AMG F1
© xpbimages.com

Latifi found himself at the heart of the controversial conclusion to the 2021 world championship after his crash triggered the late Safety Car that dramatically swung the outcome of the title when Michael Masi failed to correctly apply the rules to force a restart. 

Earlier this week, the Canadian admitted he was so worried about the threats he hired bodyguards to protect him and his girlfriend during a recent visit to London. 

“Ultimately, I don’t think there has been a huge change or shift, or enough work that has been done by these social platforms,” Hamilton replied when asked about the abuse Latifi encountered. 

“We still have to apply pressure for them to make changes. Mental health is a real thing and on these social platforms, people are experiencing abuse in a way that no one deserves and that should never be tolerated.

“They are able to make changes but they don’t seem to do it quick enough. So I think we just need to continue to apply pressure.”

Nicholas Latifi (CDN) Williams Racing.
Nicholas Latifi (CDN) Williams Racing.
© xpbimages.com

Latifi also revealed that Hamilton, who took a two-month break from social media and public life while he came to terms with the events of Abu Dhabi, was among the drivers who sent him messages of support. 

“I was in touch with Nicholas,” Hamilton added. “He has my full support and I know how difficult it can be in those situations. 

"I think it’s important for him to know that he has support from people around him. 

“On another side of things, you can see that there is so much passion within this sport. That’s what really makes this sport so great – there is so much passion. 

“But we have got to channel that in a positive way, not a negative.” 

New Mercedes driver George Russell echoed the seven-time world champion’s comments as he stood by his former Williams teammate. 

“I think more needs to be done for athletes, for people in the spotlight,” said Russell. 

“Because people behind the keyboard think they have a right to say what they like to somebody who is out there trying to make a career for themselves and it’s almost forgotten that everyone is human. 

“I want to do as much as I can. I know that I am a young racing driver and I still need to learn and educate myself more about this but something really does need to be done. 

“I felt really bad for Nicholas. He’s such an amazing guy. He didn’t deserve at all what he received.” 

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