Lewis Hamilton – who has 38 MILLION followers across Instagram and Twitter – says everyone should come off ‘toxic’ social media… after rival Max Verstappen said he’d been persecuted online when Sky Sports questioned his 2021 title win
- Lewis Hamilton says social media is getting more and more ‘toxic’ over the years
- The seven-time F1 champion has called platforms to do more to protect people
- His comments come after Max Verstappen complained of online persecution
- Verstappen refused to speak to Sky Sports over comments about his title win
- Hamilton meanwhile was also involved in a separate spat with Fernando Alonso
Lewis Hamilton, who boasts more than 30million Instagram followers and nearly 8m Twitter devotees, has said everyone should come off ‘toxic’ social media.
The seven-time world champion was speaking after finishing second to Max Verstappen at Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix, a race dripping in acrimony on several levels before and afterwards.
Verstappen complained of being persecuted on social media after ‘one particular’ Sky Sports presenter – believed to be pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz – questioned the validity of the Dutchman’s world title last season.
Kravitz’s to-camera claims that Hamilton was ‘robbed’ of the championship prompted Verstappen and Red Bull to withdraw all cooperation with Sky in Mexico City.
Hamilton, meanwhile, was involved in a separate spat with his former McLaren team-mate, bitter rival and double world champion Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard claimed in an interview that Hamilton’s championships were less hard-earned than Verstappen’s because the Briton only had to fight his team-mates for them, not other teams.
Lewis Hamilton has claimed that social media is getting ‘more and more toxic’ over the years
His comments come after Max Verstappen complained of being persecuted online after one reporter – believed to be Ted Kravitz – questioned the validity of his 2021 title win
That provoked Hamilton to post a picture on Twitter of himself standing on the top step of the podium at the 2007 US Grand Prix looking down on Alonso, one step below.
The picture drew 291,000 likes and 13,000 comments.
Yet Hamilton said: ‘Social media is getting more and more toxic as the years go on and I think we should all come off it ultimately.
‘Mental health is such a prominent thing right now. So many people are reading the comments and the stuff people say, and it is hurtful.
‘Fortunately, I don’t read the stuff but the media platforms need to do more to protect people, particularly young kids and women, but at the moment they are not doing that so I think this will just continue.’
Hamilton, who employs staff to help look after his social media, including the London agency Freuds, posted on Instagram after Sunday’s race, which suggests he is not quite ready to sever his links with the platforms He has previously used them to settled arguments.
Kravitz suggested that Hamilton had been ‘robbed’ during last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Of his spat with Alonso, Hamilton said: ‘I don’t have a lot to say about it. It does make me giggle a little bit to be honest. I have tried to be really respectful over the years.
‘When I have ever been asked who has been the better driver I have always tried to give praise to him. It is definitely interesting to see the comments that are made, but it doesn’t really matter so that is why I just gave the thumbs up.’
Double world champion Verstappen, who is a somewhat reluctant social media exponent but posted on Instagram at least six images after the latest race and has 9.5m Instagram followers, said: ‘The sport is more popular than ever. More people are watching it and more people are writing about it.
Hamilton was involved in a spat in with Fernando Alonso in which he posted this picture after the Spaniard said Hamilton’s championships were less hard-earned than those of Verstappen
World champion Verstappen (centre) and Hamilton (left) have both called on social media platforms to do more to protect people from receiving hurtful comments from online trolls
‘But is not great that they are allowed to type these kinds of things. I hope we can come up with an algorithm to stop people from being keyboard warriors because these kind of people would never say these kind of things to your face.
‘But they are sitting in front of their computers at home being upset, frustrated, and they can write whatever they like.
‘It can be really damaging and hurtful to some people and it is not how it should be.’