Formula 1 | Latifi received ‘very positive’ message from Hamilton after Abu Dhabi
Nicholas Latifi spoke again about his accident in Abu Dhabi, which triggered the Safety Car that cost Lewis Hamilton the world title. The Williams F1 driver had tried to attack Mick Schumacher and is defending his aggressive approach when he had nothing to gain.
« I was fighting with Mick for a position very far from the points » remembers Latifi. « I think that’s one of the most important things I wanted all the fans to understand. In reality, it doesn’t matter if I’m racing for P20, P19, the points or the podium. »
« Our car that day was just good enough to be in those positions. If I don’t try to get every little thing, Williams might as well not show up to the races. So obviously that would be a stupid attitude to have, but that’s just the public perception. »
Subsequently, he received death threats on social networks and deplores the magnitude of this affair for a simple sporting event: « The aftermath hasn’t been very pleasant. It’s just the bad side of social media these days. I don’t think it really has anything to do with sports. »
« It was obviously a very high profile incident because of the outcome of what happened. It wasn’t just a race at the start of the year, it was something at the end of the year with the battle for the championship. Tons of tension and emotions for the fans because it was a very exciting season. »
« Total support » which has done good for Latifi
The Canadian remembers stepping away from social media and receiving support from another driver by doing the same. Indeed, Hamilton wrote to him to support him in the face of the wave of hatred that was unleashed against him.
« It was a very positive thing to do. Lewis messaged me to get in touch with me. He kind of broke away from the world of social media and everything. He obviously had his own emotions to deal with, what he was fighting against. »
« But he sent me a very nice message, of full support. I even received messages from other members of the Mercedes team, as well as countless visible messages from different teams, different drivers, etc. «
A voluntary withdrawal on social networks
Although he hadn’t done anything voluntarily, Latifi still had to step back from the wave of hatred he faced in public. He reveals that it was his family and the people managing his communication that helped him overcome this.
“There were maybe two days where I took social media off my phone and then slowly went back to it, reinstalled the apps on my phone. I obviously have PR people who helped me with my social media and stuff, and they have access to it. »
« They said they were trying to clean up as much as they could, like everyone else would have in this situation. So I heard a lot from them, and obviously from my family members who were still on social media after the fact and noticed how bad it was. »
« I saw again, when I went back, all the online hateful abuse and stuff. And I think it’s clear that it’s never right. It’s just the ugly side of the networks nowadays. It doesn’t really matter, especially since in reality, I didn’t do anything wrong. If I had done it on purpose, that was another story. But I was doing just my own race. »
Jost Capito, his boss, had explained that this had taken a blow to Latifi’s confidence, which the main interested party does not deny: « I got over it pretty quickly, and the fact that the winter holidays followed immediately may have helped me. »
« Other aspects of this year have had an effect on my confidence. I had a few other incidents at the start of the year, which doesn’t help when you’re trying to build momentum. But I wasn’t really carrying other traces of Abu Dhabi from the previous year. »