Storm of hate hammers Hamilton in UK Stunned Lewis Hamilton endured a vicious backlash yesterday after becoming the youngest driver to take the Formula One crown.
The BBC helped heap criticism on Britain’s newest sporting hero with a phone-in encouraging callers to vent their dislike of the Grand Prix ace.
In Spain, where 23-year-old Hamilton has been the target of racist abuse, thousands of bitter motor-racing fans bombarded newspapers and radio stations with claims that the world title was fixed.
On the internet the attacks were worse. Car-racing fans, devoted to abusing Hamilton on social networking sites like Facebook and Bebo, included one who declared: “I’d Like To Kill Lewis Hamilton”.
The day after Hamilton clinched the world title by a point in Sao Paulo, Brazil, BBC Radio 5 invited listeners to air their views on the star. Presenter Aasmah Mir revealed that a third of callers wanted to slate the first black winner of the F1 title for living as a tax exile in Switzerland and for being “smug and arrogant”.
Sir Stirling Moss, 79, winner of 16 Grand Prix races but never the world title, attacked the BBC for marring the celebrations that greeted the crowning of a new British superstar.
He said: “The BBC need to put their own house in order before they criticize anyone else.”
A Radio 5 spokesman pointed out: “A clear majority of callers praised Lewis’s achievements.”
Many Spanish claimed Hamilton’s win, as a result of passing Timo Glock’s Toyota near the end of the race, was “a fix”. One said: “Come on, check book to Glock.” It was pointed out that Glock’s first name Timo means “swindle” in Spanish. Daily Express
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