BUDAPEST, Hungary -- For the first time in his Formula One career, Lewis Hamilton said he did not feel alone after receiving racist abuse online and has thanked rival teams and drivers for offering their support following the British Grand Prix.
Hamilton was subjected to racist abuse on social media after colliding with title rival Max Verstappen at his home event and winning the race. Social media firm Facebook confirmed it had removed racist comments from its photo-sharing platform Instagram on the Monday following the race.
The 36-year-old Mercedes driver was targeted online hours after the victory, with racist messages including monkey emojis sent as replies to a post by his Mercedes team on Instagram.
Formula One, the FIA, and Hamilton's Mercedes team released a joint statement condemning the abuse, which was then followed up by a post from Verstappen's Red Bull team.
Speaking ahead of this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix, Hamilton, the only Black driver in F1, said he appreciated the support he had received within the sport.
"What I would say is that it was amazing to see the support from the sport, from my team and from some of the drivers," he said. "I felt for the first time that I didn't stand alone in the sport, because for the other years, the 27-whatever years it is I was racing, no-one would ever say anything."
Hamilton referenced the progress the sport had made since his debut year in 2007 when he received racist abuse from spectators in the grandstands at the Spanish Grand Prix.
"When it happened in 2007 no-one ever said anything," Hamilton added. "So it was really amazing to see the steps we have taken.
"There's no room for that abuse. But if I have to be on the receiving end of that in this industry for people to become aware, then that's part of my journey, that's why I'm here."