Lewis Hamilton recently received thousands of extremely foul racial messages on various online social media platforms after the 2022 F1 season. In recent years, toxic behavior has gradually increased in the F1 community. Even though the sport initiated the 'Drive It Out' movement to highlight and try to resolve the issue, some individuals in the community are continuing to spread negativity.
The Female Driver and Areto Labs conducted a statistical analysis that revealed the number of racial comments directed at Hamilton and other people of color in the F1 paddock. Between October and November 2022, the survey found more than 5,500 racial slurs.
Note: The social media post linked below contains examples of these racial comments that might distress and disturb some people. Hence, do not swipe beyond the 'content warning' image to avoid reading the hateful comments.
Out of these 5,500 racial comments, 5% of them were marked 'high risk' since they were threatening and extremely violent. A thousand of them had the N-word in them, while another thousand of them also disrespectfully addressed people of color using words like 'monkey' and 'ape'. Though the BLM (Black Lives Matter) hashtag was featured in 3,500 of these comments, almost all of them were used negatively.
In addition to Lewis Hamilton, some of the comments were directed at Sky Sports presenter Naomi Schiff as well. Most of these comments were taken from Twitter, where people replied to Hamilton, Schiff, and Hamilton's foundation Mission 44's Twitter handles.
Lewis Hamilton on FIA banning drivers from making personal political statements
Since Lewis Hamilton is one of the most outspoken drivers on the F1 grid, the FIA's new rule banning drivers from making political statements on global issues will affect him the most. The Briton has consistently stood up against racism, gender inequality, and several other world problems. Hence, he was saddened to see F1 taking a step back and curbing drivers' freedom of speech.
In an interview with The New York Times, Hamilton said:
"There are still so many barriers still in place. Hopefully, it's not going to be like this for much longer, but it's just sad to see we are still finding those things today."
He further added:
"If I don't have these conversations with people, if I don't bring up these difficult conversations, they won't necessarily get discussed or tackled, or energy from organizations won't necessarily be put into creating more inclusivity. Spending the time having those conversations and what it means and how positive it could be for everybody, it takes time. It's a constant job to have them."
Lewis Hamilton believes speaking about these issues is extremely important since it sheds some light on the matter and raises awareness among millions around the globe.