Nicholas Latifi addressed an open letter to the public after numerous threats and negative comments he received on social media after an incident he caused at the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi that decided fight for the driver’s title.
Latifi crashed in the 51st lap of the Abu Dhabi GP, in which Hamilton convincingly led the entire race, giving Verstappen and Red Bull a chance to change their tires after seeing that Hamilton and Mercedes did not decide on the move.
After a controversial decision to let go only five drivers who are late for the entire lap, who were between Hamilton and Verstappen, the Dutchman took the opportunity, overtook Hamilton and won the title. Latifi revealed that he received a lot of messages of hatred and threats on social networks because he caused the mentioned incident and thus influenced the fight for the title.
"Hello everyone, I deliberately avoided social media to make things a little easier after the last race, ”said Latifi. “I have received thousands of messages on my social media profiles, publicly and privately.
Most of them supported me, but there was also a lot of hatred. " “I was trying to find the best way to deal with it. Will I ignore them and continue? Or will I deal with them or a bigger problem that is a sad consequence when you use social networks? ” “This may spark a debate about online abuse and the drastic consequences it can have on people.
Using social media to attack someone through messages of hatred, abuse and violent threats is shocking. ” “Going back to the race weekend, as soon as the flag went down, I knew things were likely to play out on social media.
The fact that I thought it would be best to delete Instagram and Twitter on my phone for a few days says all we need to know about how cruel the online world can be. ” "The hatred, abuse and threats on social media that followed did not really surprise me because it is just the harsh reality of the world we live in at the moment."
"It's not strange for me to talk about it negatively on the Internet, I think that every athlete who competes on the world stage knows that he is under extreme control and that sometimes comes with it. " "But, as we have seen over and over again, in all the different sports, it only takes one incident at the wrong time to blow things up and bring out the worst in people who are so-called 'fans' of the sport."
"What shocked me was the extreme tone of hatred, abuse, and even death threats I received. ” “Thinking about what happened during the race, there was actually only one group of people I had to apologize for giving up: my team.
I did it right after. Everything else that followed was beyond my control. " “Some people have said that I am racing for a position that is not important with only a few remaining laps. But whether I’m chasing wins, podiums, points or even last place, I’ll always give it my all to the flag."
"Looking on that, I am the same as any other driver. To people who don't understand or disagree, that's fine with me. You can have your opinion." "But using these opinions to incite hatred, abuse and threats of violence, not only to me but also to those closest to me, tells me that these people are not true sports fans.
” “Luckily, I’m comfortable enough in my own skin and I’ve been in this world long enough to be able to do a pretty good job resisting any negativity." "But I know I'm not alone in the fact that a negative comment always seems to stand out more - and sometimes it can be enough to drown out 100 positive ones.
"People will have their say, and that's fine. Having thick skin is a big part of athletes, especially when you are constantly in a position to be carefully examined." "But many of the comments I received last week have crossed the line into something far more extreme.
It worries me how someone else might react if this same level of abuse was ever directed at them." "No one should allow the activities of a famous minority to dictate who they are. ” “The events of the past week have made me realize how important it is to work together to prevent things like this from happening and to support those who receive them."
"I understand that it is unlikely that I will persuade those who have treated me this way to change their minds - and may even try to use this message against me - but it is right to provoke such behavior and not remain silent.
" "I want to say a big thank you to all the fans and people who have been keeping their backs to me throughout this situation. I have seen and read a lot of your messages and I really appreciate them. It's nice to know that I have so many people who support me.
" "Sport is competitive in nature - but people need to be brought together, not separated. If sharing my thoughts and highlighting the need for action only helps one person, then it pays off. ” “As we look forward to the New Year, I sincerely hope that my experiences after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will help solidify that message, and it is my New Year’s decision to look at ways I can support that process.
Just be kind, everyone! ” "I wish you all a happy holiday, stay safe and look forward to getting everyone back on track in 2022."