Lewis Hamilton was the target of online racist abuse after winning his eighth British Grand Prix on Sunday. The seven-time world champion fought back from a 10-second penalty to clinch victory following a controversial collision with rival Max Verstappen, which left the Red Bull driver in hospital.
Instagram said it had removed a number of comments from its platform in relation to Hamilton, who has been a huge advocate for 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 safety features available, including Comment Filters and Message Controls, which can mean no one has to see this type of abuse Instagram said in a statement.
Verstappen’s team Red Bull Racing said it was “disgusted and saddened” at the abuse directed towards Hamilton. “While we may be fierce rivals on-track, we are all united against racism,” the team said in a statement. “We condemn racist abuse of any kind towards our team, our competitors and our fans. “There is never any excuse for it, there is certainly no place for it in our sport and those responsible should be held accountable.”
Racist messages including ‘monkey emojis’ and other racial slurs were sent as replies to a post by the Mercedes team on Instagram celebrating Hamilton’s Silverstone success.