To err is human and absolutely fine. It happens all the time. Moreover, no one on a planet increasingly obsessed with AI has become a robot yet, so as not to be committing mistakes. We saw a glaring example of this at Silverstone yesterday with the opening lap producing high-voltage drama. At Copse, Hamilton contacted the fiery Red Bull of Max Verstappen, a move perhaps hastily executed (or, maybe not) or perhaps resulting from the added pressure of relenting the Mad Max attack, with the young Dutchman running away into the lead.
The drama unfurled at Silverstone
Which driver wishes to see himself emerge second-best in front of tens of thousands of roaring fans and that too, at his home track? Although, that cannot be counted as an excuse for Lewis overstepping the gas.
Regardless of what one has to say, and it could be said in no uncertain terms that a lot is still being said over social media in the Silverstone action-aftermath, truth is- Lewis won, while Max retired.
The tables had been turned, once again; something Mercedes desperately wanted, something Red Bull would never have asked for.
The championship lead that Red Bull enjoyed prior to entering the Silverstone-bound British GP has been reduced drastically thanks to a sensational performance by Mercedes. Well, regardless of how some Verstappen fans -hurt obviously by the proceedings- see it, a performance where both drivers of the same team end up on the podium deserves to be called sensational.
Though more so, that a win came to Mercedes’s camp after having endured a winless run on past five consecutive occasions made their celebrations a tad bit overbearing from a Red Bull perspective, which went a good way to further irate fans that were already left red-faced after the lap 1 incident.
Yet, in all of this, Hamilton served a 10-second penalty and was rightly reprimanded for what was a bit more than a racing incident, though the debate rages on. This, of course, doesn’t suggest that the king of the grid did that on purpose.
He would never.
Shocker at Silverstone, in the race’s aftermath
Sadly, however, as expected, in the aftermath of Hamilton winning at Silverstone, a venue where he now has the record for most race wins- 8, and above all, tremendous emotional connect, there were some unpleasant things said by the fans.
And it doesn’t make one Sherlock to understand which part of the fan-base resorted to vile, uncouth, unparliamentary names even for Lewis Hamilton. It was the camp that wears orange, thrives on Verstappen wins, and lives to see the Red Bull glory.
And with all due respect, some of the things that Hamilton was subjected to by Verstappen fans, obviously with Verstappen not compelling them to do so (needless to say), bring to light the harsh truth about Formula 1 and also beckons a question.
While we take hardly a second and waste no Tweet or Facebook post in mocking drivers whenever they commit blunders, for instance, to this day, a favorite punching bag of everyone is Maldonado (though, understandably so), can we not pause for a second, and maybe, for even a minute before we hurl wild abuses to drivers?
Make no mistake. These are drivers who, week after week, Grand Prix followed by Grand Prix, put their lives on the line, willingly flirt with danger and confront the hounding question of whether they’d walk out alive after two hours of grind, all in the sake for the fan.
Yet, they are subjected to terminologies you wouldn’t want your kids to learn. Is that correct?
When your Lewis Hamiltons, Max Verstappens, Alonsos, Albons, Leclercs and Bottas’ can take the blows and actually do, time and again, in their fight for glory, part of the high-octane action that makes F1 a one-of-a-kind juggle between life and death, then can these very drivers not expect fans to think before they speak?
Is it too hard to expect?
As a matter of fact, the things said to Lewis Hamilton, who clinched his ninety-ninth win at Silverstone, were so poor in spirit that even Red Bull, his arch-rivals, posted on social media asking fans to refrain from racist comments.
Just what have we come to? Rather, what have we become; we the educated lot who take instant pride in strutting our degrees and diplomas over social media, flaunting our tickets to a race, sharing with pride the number of times our Tweets were acknowledged by drivers themselves, showing off, often repeatedly, a selfie clicked with a Kimi or Seb!
And if despite the blaring call for unison at a time where racial discrimination as also the fight against it, is in full crescendo, do we even deserve to call ourselves F1 fans of such esteemed talents!
(note- Kindly note this article doesn’t mean to preach a moral lesson in social conduct or acceptable behaviour, it clearly aims to explain the author’s views in the light of the social media trolling Hamilton was subjected to)