Nicholas Latifi: “Lewis did send me a message a few days after”

© Williams Racing

Williams’ Nicholas Latifi reveals he received messages of support from Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes after receiving death threats over his Abu Dhabi DNF.

Nicholas Latifi’s crash in the final stages of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has started a chain of events that ended with race director Michael Masi breaking the Safety Car rules and protocols, which allowed Max Verstappen to easily win the race and the 2021 championship.

There is absolutely no doubt that this situation robbed Lewis Hamilton of his eighth title win, which was almost certain had the rules been followed.

A few days after the event Latifi released a statement saying he has been receiving death threats from people who blamed him for the outcome of the race.

Now Latifi reveals he has received messages of support from Lewis and Mercedes even before he released his statement.

“I felt spreading this message was important; something I wanted to take a stand for,” Latifi said at Williams’ 2022 car launch.

“In terms of the other support I got afterwards, Lewis did send me a message a few days after… just before I released the statement. Obviously, I won’t go into details.

“I did get some messages of support from other team members at Mercedes as well. The whole outcry of support on social media from multiple drivers and teams, across so many different disciplines, was really nice and encouraging to see.

“Everyone agreed with the whole sentiment and messaging, and this has not been the only instance of a situation like this with online abuse.

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“Social media brings a lot of good, it gives people a lot of access to things that they wouldn’t normally be able to engage with, but at the same time, unfortunately, these negative pitfalls can happen.

“It would just be nice to hopefully find more ways to do better on that front.”

Latifi also revealed he took the threats seriously and at times had security with him.

“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 the airport, or you bump into someone who’s having a bad day, is intoxicated, under the influence of something, and has these really extreme opinions. All it takes is that one in a million person…

“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.

“It sounds funny, it sounds silly, but we definitely did take the threat seriously because again, you really don’t know what could happen.

“It’s just an unfortunate part of the world that we live in,” Latifi concluded.

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