Lewis Hamilton has urged social media companies to do more to stop the spread of online abuse after fellow Formula 1 driver Nicholas Latifi received death threats following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which s the season is over.
Latifi crashed his Williams car just laps from the end and Hamilton was on his way to an eighth F1 title. The incident led to a safety car and Max Verstappen overtook seven-time F1 champion Hamilton on the final lap to claim the world title amid huge controversy.
Although blameless, Latifi was harassed online as outrage grew over Hamilton’s sudden loss of the title.
“At the end of the day, I don’t think there has been a huge shift or change, or enough work that has been done by these social platforms. We still have to push for them to make changes,” said said Hamilton on Friday after the unveiling of Mercedes’ 2022 car. “Mental health is a real thing and through these social platforms people are being abused.
“No one deserves this and it should never be tolerated,” added the 37-year-old British driver. ”(Social media) are able to change these things and make changes, but they don’t seem to be doing it fast enough. So I think we just have to keep pushing. Latifi was so affected that he hired bodyguards for a sightseeing trip to London with his girlfriend.
“I was in contact with Nicholas, he has my full support and I know how difficult it can be in these situations,” Hamilton said. ”It’s important for him to know that he has the support of the people around him. Mercedes driver George Russell, who was previously Latifi’s teammate at Williams, agreed with Hamilton.
“I think more needs to be done for the athletes, for the people in the spotlight because the people behind the computer, behind the keyboard think they have the right to say whatever they want,” Russell said. . “You almost forget that everyone is human…Something really needs to be done and I felt really, really bad for Nicholas.” Russell had also sometimes struggled in the same car.
“Mistakes happen and I know firsthand how difficult that specific Williams car was to drive,” he said. “He didn’t deserve to get what he got at all, so more needs to be done.” Latifi, a 26-year-old Canadian, spoke about the impact of threats on his mental state.
“I was back in London after the race and had the security with me when I went to Winter Wonderland with my girlfriend,” he said on Tuesday. “You have to take threats seriously because you don’t know what might happen and that’s just a sad reality of the world we live in.” Latifi anticipated receiving abuse and therefore deleted Instagram and Twitter from her phone.
“Using social media as a channel to attack someone with messages of hate, abuse and threats of violence is shocking, and that’s something I call out,” he said.
Hamilton also retired from his platforms after Abu Dhabi, reappearing just two weeks ago.
The new 23-race season begins on March 20 at the Bahrain GP. PA BS BS
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