Hamilton withdraws attack on Helmut Marko (Update)

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton

UPDATE (GMM) Dr Helmut Marko has confirmed that world champion Lewis Hamilton apologized for this week's media misunderstanding.

The Mercedes driver had slammed the top Red Bull official after Marko was quoted as suggesting Hamilton was "distracted" by the Black Lives Matter movement.

The comments attributed to Marko, however, were false.

Marko said Red Bull is now considering legal action against the website that published them.

"If it was up to me, I wouldn't do anything," Marko, 77, told Auto Bild. "We live in a time when madness should not be fought with more madness.

"But since Red Bull Racing was mentioned, the British are examining whether to take legal action against the website. It is no longer in my hands," said the Austrian.

As for Hamilton, though, Marko said he considers the matter to be closed.

"Lewis is just committed – that's a good thing," he said.

"He apologized to me and that's the end of it."

F1's authorities, on the other hand, are standing firmly behind Hamilton's latest push into political matters, including Spanish bullfighting, the destruction of statues, and even Belgian colonialism.

"I have the greatest respect for Lewis Hamilton and his work on social media," FIA president Jean Todt is quoted by Speed Week.

And Yath Gangakumaran, Formula 1's Director of strategy, added: "What Lewis has done helps us to accelerate the changes we want to see in Formula 1.

"Gone are the days when an athlete could hide behind his sport."

06/18/20 (GMM) Lewis Hamilton has withdrawn a scathing rebuke of Dr Helmut Marko after it emerged that comments attributed to the Red Bull official were not real.

The six-time world champion said on social media that he was "offended" that Marko had reportedly pointed out that "certain drivers" were "distracted" by political issues while Max Verstappen is fully focused on winning the title.

"Some drivers are distracted, talking about lives that matter," the false Marko comment stated. "The only thing that counts for Max is the world championship."

Hamilton responded: "Helmut, it deeply saddens me that you consider fighting for equal treatment of black people and people of color a distraction."

In a lengthy post, he also told Marko to "wake up".

But the Mercedes driver deleted the posts after Red Bull denied that Marko made the comments. Then, the website that published them admitted it had fallen for an instance of fake news pedaled by a parody Twitter account.

The website had attributed Marko's false comments to the German broadcaster RTL, who revealed that they had taken several calls from Red Bull as well as other officials in Britain and Italy.

RTL reporter Felix Gorner said the situation was "completely absurd".

"It was wrong for us to publish the news story without first establishing the veracity of the information," Abhishek Bharadwaj, a writer for Essentially Sports, said.

"We sincerely apologize to Dr Helmut Marko and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing."

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