Hamilton, Norris and Leclerc among those in SM boycott

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 on the grid. 28.03.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir
© XPB 

Over half of the current Formula 1 grid have joined this weekend's social media boycott against racism, meaning that they won't be posting any updates online for the next three and a half days.

Lewis Hamilton was the first leading driver to declare that he would be going silent from 3pm BST this afternoon until the end of Monday, and was soon joined by fellow British drivers George Russell and Lando Norris.

“In the sport, it’s clear that racism continues to be an issue," Hamilton said. "And I think social media platforms do need to do more in order to combat this.

"I’m fully supportive of the initiative. If me also doing it helps put pressure on on those platforms in order to help fight against it then for sure, I’m happy to do so.”

“To stand in solidarity with the football community, I will be going dark on my social media channels this weekend," the reigning world champion told his 22 million Instagram Twitter followers and 6.2 million Twitter fans.

"There is no place in our society for any kind of abuse, online or not, and for too long it’s been easy for a small few to post hate from behind their screens.

“While a boycott might not solve this issue overnight, we have to call for change when needed, even when it seems like an almost impossible task," he added. “Sport has the power to unite us. Let’s not accept abuse as part of sport but instead, let’s be the ones who make a difference for future generations.”

McLaren confirmed that Norris' team mate Daniel Ricciardo was also joining the boycott, and Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc also confirmed that they would likewise be offline for the duration of the protest.

“Along with my fellow F1 drivers I support the #EnoughIsEnough campaign this weekend," Verstappen posted. "We support the call for social media platforms to act responsibly and users to act respectfully. Online abuse and hate must stop.”

Others signing up include Esteban Ocon, Valtteri Bottas, Nicholas Latifi, Mick Schumacher and Pierre Gasly.

"This weekend I’ll stay offline on social media to stand with others against online abuse," wrote the AlphaTauri driver. "We all struggled on here with any sort of abuse, this has to change and we all have to be more responsible & respectful towards each other. It’s time for a positive change

Sky Sports also said it would be joining the protest. The BBC said it couldn't join a full boycott but that some of its social media channels would be quieter than usual as a result.

The boycott was initiated by English football bodies including the Football Association, Premier League and the FA Women’s Championship in association with anti-racism campaign Kick It Out.

The organisers are calling on social media companies to be held accountable for what is posted on their platforms “in response to the ongoing and sustained discriminatory abuse received online by players and many others connected to football.”

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