Hamilton: F1's response to racial abuse "the first time I didn't stand alone"

Lewis Hamilton has called the support shown by Formula 1 in the wake of receiving racist abuse online “amazing”, saying it is “the first time I didn't stand alone”.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1st position, on the podium

Hamilton received racist abuse on social media in the wake of his victory at the British Grand Prix two weeks ago, prompting F1, the FIA and Mercedes to issue a joint statement condemning the messages.

This was followed by a wave of support from other teams and drivers on the grid showing solidarity with Hamilton, F1’s only black driver.

Speaking for the first time about the messages, Hamilton said it was “nothing new for me”, but felt the response by the series was a stark contrast from when he faced abuse in the early part of his F1 career.

“What I would say is that it was amazing to see the support from the sport, from my team, and from some of the drivers,” Hamilton said in Thursday’s FIA press conference ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

“I felt for the first time that I didn't stand alone in the sport. Because for the other years, or the other 27 or whatever years I've been racing, no-one would ever say anything.

“When it happened in 2007, no-one ever said anything. So it was really amazing to see the steps that we've taken.

“Of course we can’t condone that, and there's no room for that sort of abuse.

“But if I have to be on the receiving end of that in this industry for people to become aware, then that's part of my journey, that's why I'm here.”

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 3rd position, congratulates Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1st position, in Parc Ferme

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 3rd position, congratulates Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1st position, in Parc Ferme

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Speaking last year, Hamilton said that the lack of action to combat the racism he faced in the early part of his career made “complete sense” following comments by former F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone.

In April, Hamilton called on social media companies to do more to combat racism online ahead of a boycott of their platforms that originated in English football.

Hamilton has been leading F1’s messaging in its push for greater diversity and inclusivity, and recently revealed the findings of The Hamilton Commission, which is working to create an industry more reflective of society as a whole.

Mercedes changed its car livery to an all-black colour scheme ahead of the 2020 season in a strong anti-racism message, and has kept the design for this year.

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