Grand Prix Champ Lewis Hamilton has not been spared the now usual racial abuse that has no end in sight.
Facebook is under pressure to ‘eliminate’ vile racist abuse on Instagram after Lewis Hamilton was bombarded with monkey emojis and called a gorilla after winning the British Grand Prix in controversial fashion on Sunday at Silverstone.
Seven-time world champion Hamilton, 36, was involved early on in an incident that saw championship leader and rival Max Verstappen plough his Red Bull into a wall and out of the race.
Hamilton was hit by a 10 second penalty but went on to win the race and close the gap in the title race to just eight points.
Following the race, Sir Lewis received messages on Instagram from his Sunday evening upload that included monkey emojis, with much of the racist abuse found on Instagram, which was the platform of choice for racists who abused Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford after their penalty misses in the Euro 2020 final this month.
One user wrote of Hamilton: ‘I was his fan before this race! very bad… Sir Lewis Hamilton’ before adding a gorilla emoji, while another message used a flurry of monkey emojis.
Today Formula One released a joint statement with the sport’s governing body, the FIA, and Hamilton’s team Mercedes-AMG Petronas condemning the abuse, and piling more pressure on social media giants to take steps to filter comments and ban racists.
The statement read: ‘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 instances of online abuse must be highlighted and eliminated.’
Facebook, which owns Instagram, insists it is filtering comments but insisted ‘no single thing will fix this challenge overnight’.