After his victory in the Grand Prix of Great Britain, Hamilton received racist insults on social media, prompting F1, the FIA and Mercedes to issue a joint statement condemning this situation.
This was followed by a wave of support from other teams and drivers on the grid showing solidarity with Hamilton, the only African-American driver in Formula 1.
Speaking for the first time about the messages, Hamilton said it was “nothing new to me” but found the series’ response to be a stark contrast to what he received early in his top flight career.
“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,” Hamilton said at the FIA press conference on Thursday before the Hungarian Grand Prix.
“I felt for the first time that I was not alone in the sport. Because during the other years that I have been competing, nobody said anything.”
“When it happened in 2007, nobody said anything. So it was surprising to see the steps we have taken.”
“Of course we cannot allow it, and there is no place for that kind of abuse.”
“But if I have to be on the receiving end of that in this industry to make people aware, then that’s part of the way, that’s why I’m here.”
Last year, Hamilton said that the inaction to combat racism that he faced early in his career made “perfect sense” after comments made by the former head of the category, Bernie Ecclestone.
In April, Hamilton called on social media companies to make greater efforts to combat racism online, before a boycott of their platforms originated in English football.
Hamilton has led F1’s efforts to achieve greater diversity and inclusion, and recently unveiled the findings of the Hamilton Commission, which works to create an industry that better reflects the whole that makes up society.
Mercedes swapped their car liveries for a black color scheme ahead of the 2020 season, in a strong anti-racism message, and has kept the design for this year.