Nicholas Latifi crashing his Williams in the final stages of a controversy packed 2021 season finale Abu Dhabi Grand Prix had a major impact on where the Formula 1 title went this year.
That incident turned the race on its head, triggered controversy over the officiating, what should have been F1’s Greatest Race descended into its greatest farce. Nevertheless, Max Verstappen was a worthy Champion, while Lewis Hamilton was denied and eighth F1 title.
For the first time since the incident, Latifi took to social media and wrote:
“I’ve purposely been staying away from social media to kind of let things settle down from the events of the last race.
“A lot has been made of the situation that came about after my retirement in Abu Dhabi I’ve received thousands of messages to my social media accounts – publicly and via DMs. Most have been supportive, but there’s been a lot of hate and abuse, too.
“I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to go about handling this. Do I ignore it and carry on? Or do I address it and tackle the bigger issue that is sadly a reality when you use social media?
“This isn’t some scripted statement, but rather me speaking my mind in the hop. that this maybe sparks another conversation about online bullying and the drastic consequences it can have on people. Using social media as a channel to attack somebody with messages of hate, abuse and threats of violence is shocking – and something I am calling out.
“Going back to the race weekend, as soon as the checkered flag dropped, I knew how things were likely to play out on social media. The fact that I felt it would be best if I deleted Instagram and Twitter on my phone for a few days says all we need to know about how cruel the online world can be.
“The ensuing hate, abuse, and threats on social media were not really a surprise to me as it’s just the stark reality of the world we live in right now.
“I’m no stranger to being talked about negatively online, I think every sportsperson who competes on the world stage knows they’re under extreme scrutiny and this comes with the territory sometimes.”