F1 rivals unite against racial abuse of Hamilton

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton following Sprint Qualifying in Silverstone

Mercedes and Red Bull have united to address the racial abuse levelled at Lewis Hamilton during and following the Formula 1 British Grand Prix.

The seven-time world champion was the central figure in a controversial race which saw Max Verstappen eliminated on the opening lap.

Hamilton and Verstappen touched at Copse while battling for the lead, the former able to continue though handed a 10-second penalty by the stewards for his part in the clash.

Nonetheless, the 36-year-old raced back from fourth to win the grand prix, his eighth success at his home event.

Both the crash and result were fiercely debated, both in the paddock and online, with Mercedes and Red Bull today uniting to address the less savoury aspects of the discussion.

“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,” a joint statement from Mercedes and the FIA reads.

“Formula 1, the FIA and Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team condemn this behaviour in the strongest possible terms.

“These people have no place in our sport and we urge that those responsible should be held accountable for their actions.

“Formula 1, the FIA, the drivers and the teams are working to build a more diverse and inclusive sport, and such unacceptable instance of online abuse must be highlighted and eliminated.”

That was followed by a supporting statement from their championship rivals.

“While we may be fierce rivals on-track, we are all united against racism,” Red Bull’s statement announced.

“We condemn racist abuse of any kind towards our time, our competitors and our fans.

“As a team we are disgusted and saddened to witness the racist abuse Lewis endured yesterday on social media after the collision with Max.

“There is never any excuse for it, there is certainly no place for it in our sport and those responsible should be held accountable.”

Mercedes adopted a black livery in place of its traditional silver ahead of the 2020 season as a public stance against racism and discrimination, while pledging to improve the diversity of the team.

In April, the team announced a partnership with the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers UK, part of the operation’s Accelerate 25 programme launched in December to boost recruitment in under-represented groups.

Only last week the Hamilton Commission, an initiative set up by Hamilton himself, made 10 recommendations for change to increase the representation of black people in UK motorsport.

That report noted that only one percent of employees in Formula 1 are from black backgrounds.

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