All Blacks silence critics, Warriors’ soul-destroying final chapter, and New Zealander Marcus Amtong on Formula 2 podium – Cheree Kinnear tells the climax of the weekend’s sport in 90 seconds and troughs. Video / Sky Sports / Spark Sport
Lewis Hamilton signed a message from his official supporter club pleading with fans not to send Red Bull strategy chief Hannah Schmitz a fourth-place finish at Sunday’s Dutch Grand Prix “Hate speech”.
Hamilton reacted angrily after seeing his best chance of winning this season slipped away by two late safety cars, the first being a virtual one, deployed when Yuki Tsunoda, driving for Red Bull’s sister team AlphaTauri, pulled out of the race .
AlphaTauri’s involvement in an incident that played such a crucial role in the race inevitably drew attention, with even Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff saying the sequence of events was odd.
But after a Twitter user posted a message on social media calling Schmitz “a snake b—- cheating with Red Bull’s babies” and received hundreds of retweets from Hamilton fans, the #TeamLH Twitter account, An official community account, released a statement that the seven-time world champion has since shared with his 7.7 million followers.
The statement was taken down hours after Hamilton retweeted, pleading with fans to be kind and acknowledging that Schmitz played a crucial role in Verstappen’s victory on Sunday, thanks to her brilliant tactical calls.
“We 100% understand that everyone’s emotions are running high right now,” the statement read. “No one expected the game to play out this way when we were so close to winning. But what’s important to us is that we Continue to spread love and empathy to the hardworking team in the paddock – whether from our team or others – but especially the women.
“The language and hate speech directed at Red Bull strategy chief Hannah Schmitz will not be tolerated and should not be condoned. The sport is brutal and you have to be prepared for anything and that’s what she did today.
“There were a lot of positives in Lewis’ game today and that’s exactly what we’re focused on doing. Thank you for your unwavering support of LH! We won and we lost together.”
Hamilton reacted furiously during the race, first bemoaning the VSC before blaming his pit lane for letting him “fuck up” his race on the wrong tire. He later apologized for his rant against the team but insisted he would never apologise for showing “enthusiasm”.
The post was taken down on Monday afternoon following a social media backlash, with #TeamLH saying: “We understand that the statement released ultimately did more harm than good and the inciting comments were exactly what TeamLH was against – for which we sincerely apologise .
“We would like to clarify that we do not tolerate abusive comments of any kind, whether directed at Lewis, his team or fans. This is not a generalisation of TeamLH as a whole and should not be read as such. Our priority has been and will be Always protect TeamLH.”
Sunday’s controversy came when Hamilton had been trying a one-stop strategy and appeared to have had some success to put him in contention for his first win of the season, when Kakuta stopped abruptly on the track after a pit stop saying the wheels were off. His team told the Japanese driver there was no problem and he should continue. He then pitted for a long pit stop while his team appeared to rummage around with his seatbelt, only to stop on the track shortly after being released, forcing a virtual safety car.
This sparked a round of pit stops and changed the whole face of the game. “That VSC stuffed us,” Hamilton remarked at one point.
When asked about Kakuda afterwards, Wolff expressed confusion. “Tsunada stopped on the track and started again, came back without a seatbelt, started the car again, broke down after half a lap…?” he said, before he finished.
He later said that if they did fight for the title, the team might look more closely at the sequence of events. “I’m currently thinking ‘Where do we need to find performance?’” Wolfe said. “If we’re going to fight for the title, that’s something I’ll be watching closely.
“Right now, I think what needs to be investigated, for the safety of drivers and everyone, [is the fact] The driver stopped, unbuckled the seatbelt, did a lap, came in, the problem wasn’t resolved, they put the seatbelt back on, he drove out and parked the car again.
“So I mean, it might have changed the outcome of the game we could have won, but it doesn’t matter either way. For me, I don’t think about that anymore. It’s done.”
AlphaTauri issued a statement Monday afternoon condemning the foul allegations they called “insulting and absolutely inaccurate,” and the team also criticized those who directed the abuse at Schmitz.
An AlphaTauri statement read: “It is incredibly frustrating to see some of the language and comments directed at our team and Red Bull Racing’s Head of Strategy Hannah Schmitz.
“Such hateful behaviour will not be tolerated and accepting accusations of foul play is unacceptable, untrue and totally disrespectful to Hannah and us.
“We have always competed independently and fairly with the highest level of respect and sportsmanship.
“Yuki had a glitch that the team didn’t immediately notice that caused him to stop on track. It would be insulting and absolutely incorrect to suggest anything different.”
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