Latifi reveals Hamilton support after Abu Dhabi F1 abuse

The 26-year-old Canadian revealed he had received “extreme” death threats after his crash in the Yas Marina finale inadvertently caused the late Safety Car that led to Max Verstappen controversially winning the F1 title. 

Latifi crashed following a late battle with Haas driver Mick Schumacher over 15th place. The incident caused the Safety Car to be deployed and at the subsequent restart, Verstappen passed long-time race leader Hamilton to win both the race and the title on the final lap. 

He condemned the abuse in an open letter on his return to social media after admitting the hate had forced him to delete Twitter and Instagram from his phone. 

Speaking publicly about the abuse for the first time since his statement, Latifi told media including Crash.net that a number of drivers had reached out to him offering support, including seven-time world champion Hamilton. 

“In terms of the support I got from it afterwards, Lewis did send me a message a few days after, I think just before I released the statement,” he said. 

“I won’t go into details into what he said. I got some support from other team members at Mercedes as well. 

“Obviously the whole outcry of support on social media from multiple drivers, teams across so many different disciplines, was really nice to see and encouraging to see.

“Everyone agreed with the whole sentiment and message and this has not been the only incident or a situation like this of online abuse.

“For me it was not the nicest feeling on the first day,” Latifi added. “I think I got over it after two days but there’s people that unfortunately maybe don’t deal with it so well for whatever reason and it can have extremely serious consequences.” 

Latifi said he took the death threats “seriously” and increased his personal security in the weeks that followed the December 12 race as a precaution. 

“I think it sounds silly to some people but at the end of the day you don’t know how serious people are,” he explained. 

“All it could take is one drunk fan at an airport or bumping into someone who’s having a bad day and is intoxicated or under the influence of something and has these really extreme opinions. All it takes is that one in a million person. 

“Some days I was back in London after the race and I did have some security with me when I was doing certain things. I went to the Winter Wonderland with my girlfriend because we didn’t manage to fit that in before the last block of races and I had some security detail with me on that. 

“Again, it sounds funny, sounds silly, but we really did take the threats seriously because you don’t really know what could happen. Just an unfortunate part of the world we live in.” 


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