Formula 1 chiefs and the Mercedes team have strongly condemned the racist abuse that Lewis Hamilton was subjected to on social media after the controversial British Grand Prix.
Hamilton was involved in a first lap crash with title rival Max Verstappen at Silverstone on Sunday as the pair battled for the lead throughout the opening corners.
The world champion was deemed by the stewards to have been at fault for the incident, which saw Verstappen pitched off the track and slam in to the tyre barriers on the outside of the high-speed Copse corner.
But despite being given a 10-second time penalty, Hamilton was able to recover to snatch an emotional victory.
The incident with Verstappen prompted huge controversy though, with Red Bull chiefs furious about Hamilton’s driving and even suggesting he should face a race ban.
The flames were further fanned when Verstappen himself tweeted after seeing Hamilton win that he felt it was ‘disrespectful’ the way that the Briton celebrated while he was in hospital.
Throughout Sunday, in official social media posts from Mercedes, racist messages including monkey emojis and other slurs were sent as replies.
Such behaviour has been strongly criticised by F1, the FIA and the Mercedes team, who issued a joint statement on Monday morning.
It said: “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.
“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.”
Hamilton himself had recently slammed as ‘disgusting’ similar racist abuse that had been directed at England football players after their loss in the Euro 2020 final.
“The racial abuse on social media towards our players after yesterday's game is unacceptable," Hamilton posted.
"This sort of ignorance has to be stopped. Tolerance and respect for players of colour should not be conditional. Our humanity should not be conditional."