Reigning Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has condemned the racist abuse several England players were subjected to in Montenegro during a qualifier for football's Euro 2020 competition on Monday.
England debutant Callum Hudson-Odoi said he heard monkey chants during the team's 5-1 victory, while Raheem Sterling and England coach Gareth Southgate said they heard abuse directed towards left-back Danny Rose. Montenegro has been charged by the continental federation of European football, UEFA.
Hamilton is England and Great Britain's most successful racing driver, with five world championships. He is currently second on the all-time list of wins behind Michael Schumacher. He is also the first black driver in the history of F1 and his now-famous journey to the pinnacle of motor racing began on a council estate in the British town of Stevenage.
On Tuesday, he tweeted his disgust at what his fellow countrymen were subjected to, signing off with the hashtags #loveoverhate #silencethehaters.
Congrats to @England on their 5-1 win against Montenegro last night, you're doing us all proud. What you faced with the chants was despicable. Completely unacceptable, no room for this behaviour in any sport. #loveoverhate #silencethehaters pic.twitter.com/FKVCrSg6se— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) March 26, 2019
It is not the first time Hamilton has tackled racial issues. A year ago, Hamilton called for greater diversity in his own sport, posting to social media: "There's barely any diversity in F1. Still nothing's changed in 11 years I've been here. Kids, people, there's so many jobs in this sport of which anybody, no matter your ethnicity or background, can make it and fit in."
In 2017 he showed support for former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started the practice of kneeling for the U.S. national anthem ahead of sporting contest. Ahead of that year's U.S. Grand Prix Hamilton posted a picture of Kaepernick alongside a list of victims of police shootings with the words "no conviction" alongside. On that occasion he also urged his followers to read about the issue and signed off the post with the message #Takeaknee.