Lewis Hamilton has been the target of racist abuse online after winning his eighth British Grand Prix on Sunday.
The seven-time world champion defended himself from a 10-second penalty to claim the victory following a controversial collision with his rival Max Verstappen, which left the Red Bull driver in hospital.
Facebook, which also owns Instagram, said it removed a number of comments from its platform regarding Hamilton, who has been a big advocate of diversity and the Black Lives Matter movement, and called the abuse “unacceptable. “.
“In addition to our work to remove comments and accounts that repeatedly break our rules, there are security features available, including comment filters and message controls, which may mean that no one should see this guy. abuse, “a spokesperson for the Facebook company told CNN. Sport.
“Nothing will solve this challenge overnight, but we are committed to working to protect our community from abuse. ”
Meanwhile, Twitter said racist behavior “has no place” on its platform and strongly condemned the abuse Hamilton suffered.
“We have clear policies in place on abusive behavior and hateful conduct and we take the enforcement of those policies very seriously,” a Twitter spokesperson told CNN Sport.
“We will take decisive and swift action on any account that breaks our rules.”
Hamilton’s Mercedes team, Formula 1 and sports governing body FIA also issued a joint statement condemning racist abuse “in the strongest possible terms”.
“These people have no place in our sport and we urge those responsible to be held accountable for their actions,” we read.
“Formula 1, the FIA, the drivers and the teams are all striving to build a more diverse and inclusive sport, and such unacceptable cases of online abuse must be highlighted and eliminated.”
It comes a week after three England players – Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka – suffered racist abuse after missing penalties in the Euro 2020 final against Italy.
Mercedes team manager Toto Wolff told BBC Radio 4 on Monday that the mistreatment of his driver was “not acceptable” and promised to “respond”.
“We saw it in European Championship football and the abuses that are absolutely unacceptable, and the same yesterday, and I still wonder if some just don’t get it,” he added.
Red Bull also released a statement saying it was “disgusted and saddened” by the abuse Hamilton received on social media.
“There is never any excuse for it, there is certainly no place for it in our sport and those responsible should be held accountable,” we read.
READ: Lewis Hamilton extends contract with Mercedes until 2023
Bryn Lennon / Formula 1 / Getty Images
Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium at Silverstone.
Around 140,000 people watched from a crowded Silverstone as Hamilton and Verstappen collided in a spectacular start to the race.
Hamilton, who was beaten in the first corner by his rival, made several attempts to pass Verstappen in this first lap and when the drivers arrived at Silverstone’s Copse Corner the Briton’s left front wheel touched the right rear tire of the Red Bull driver. .
Verstappen exited the track and crossed the gravel before crashing into the barriers. The Dutchman was taken to hospital but suffered no serious injuries.
After the race, Verstappen took to social media to express his feelings about Hamilton’s “dangerous” driving.
“First of all: I’m happy to be doing well. It had a huge impact at 51G but I felt better, ”he wrote.
“Obviously very disappointed to be out like that. The penalty imposed does not help us and does not do justice to Lewis’ dangerous movement on the track.
“Watching the post-race celebrations while still in the hospital is disrespectful and unsportsmanlike behavior, but we are moving on.”
The comments were echoed by Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, who was visibly upset when he discussed the incident after the race.
“Lewis [Hamilton] has more than enough experience to know this is unacceptable, ”he told Sky Sports.
“I’m just very disappointed that a pilot of his caliber made such a gesture. It’s dangerous, it sounded hopeless.
READ: Verstappen says ‘it doesn’t make any difference’ to be F1 championship lead
Jon Super / AP
Hamilton and Max Verstappen take a side-by-side corner at the start of the British Grand Prix.
Hamilton sent Verstappen his best wishes on social media after the race, but said he ran “fairly”.
“Today is a reminder of the dangers of the sport,” he wrote on Sunday. “I send my best wishes to Max who is an incredible competitor. I’m glad to hear that he’s doing well. I will always run hard but always fairly.
“My team has shown courage and perseverance. It’s a dream to win in front of my audience.
He was supported by Wolff who described the collision as a racing incident.
“It always takes two to dance and these two don’t give each other an inch and it’s a high speed turn, and that’s why these things are nasty to watch,” he told Sky. Sports.
Race marshals handed Hamilton a 10-second penalty for the incident, but the Briton came out on top in a dramatic conclusion, passing Charles Leclerc on Copse Corner with just two laps to go.
Hamilton’s victory gave him 25 points to place him just eight behind Verstappen in the drivers’ standings as the rivalry between the two intensified.
All eyes will now be on the Hungarian Grand Prix which will take place on August 1st.
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