Lewis Hamilton is one of the most active Formula One racing drivers on social media, a job that he takes quite seriously (along with his team Mercedes-AMG) when it comes to connecting with its millions of fans. Whether it be Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, the team/driver dynamic duo is constantly interacting with followers from across the globe day and night. Of course, that was until the 2021 F1 season finale in Abu Dhabi a couple of weeks back, when things didn’t exactly go their way.
While the squad from Brackley has remained somewhat active on its social media channels—mostly due to Valtteri Bottas’ final farewell tour of the factory—Hamilton has remained mum. In fact, on Twitter, where Hamilton has nearly seven million followers, he hasn’t tweeted since Saturday, Dec. 11, when he posted about his qualifying results ahead of the final race of the year.
On Instagram, which appears to be Hamilton’s go-to platform and where he has over 26 million followers, he’s not only stopped posting, but he’s also unfollowed every Instagram user or account he once followed. Not even his family, close friends, or own racing team escaped the chopping block. Furthermore, Hamilton’s only made two public appearances since that fateful Sunday, Dec. 12, once at Windsor Castle for his knighthood ceremony, and another at the team’s HQ for its end-of-year, championship-winning celebration. He even skipped the FIA Awards Ceremony.
There seems to be a logical explanation to this, however, at least according to his brother Nicolas Hamilton, who recently chimed in about the F1 champ’s momentary departure from social media.
“I think he is just having a bit of a social media break, which I don’t blame him for,” Nicolas Hamilton said on Twitch, as reported by RaceFans. “Social media can be a very toxic place. But he’s cool though. He’s fine.”
Hamilton’s followers would’ve normally been updated on where the seven-time world champion was spending the holidays, but this time they’ve been left in the dark. Per a comment made by his brother, however, it appears the Hamiltons opted for a snowy getaway in 2021.
“He’s cool though, he’s fine,” Nicolas Hamilton added. “He’s watching the kids ski at the moment.”
Whether folks sympathize with Hamilton’s recent absence from social media or not, that’s the driver’s decision to make, and his alone. Another F1 racer who was recently forced into a social media break is Williams driver Nicholas Latifi, who came back to the limelight with a shocking but rather unsurprising post, claiming he received death threats on social media following his race-altering crash at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. As a result, he also took a few days off from social.
“But as we’ve seen time and time again, across all different sports, it only takes one incident at the wrong time to have things completely blown out of proportion and bring out the worst in people who are so-called ‘fans’ of the sport. What shocked me was the extreme tone of the hate, abuse, and even the death threats I received,” Latifi wrote on his social media channels.
It’s not the first time Hamilton or other F1 drivers have faced relentless abuse from fans—or as Latifi calls them “so-called fans”—on social media. Even the FIA has had to step in before and denounce hatred and racism spread via social media toward Hamilton.
While F1 fans such as myself enjoy seeing constant updates from various F1 drivers, including Hamilton, it’s safe to say that I would feel compelled to pull the plug on the whole thing if it brought me more pain than joy. In the end, Hamilton doesn’t owe anyone anything, and neither does any other F1 racer or sports personality.
Perhaps all we can hope for is that folks like Hamilton and Latifi find the peace they are looking for, whether it’s on or off social media, and that they continue to enjoy the career and lifestyle they’ve worked so hard to achieve.
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