Russell denounces hate from “Formula 1 fans”.

Sometimes social media isn’t as social as the name suggests. Hate comments, insults and malicious remarks cavort time and again under media contributions and also postings by drivers. George Russell suffers from it, but now sees it as part of his job as a Formula 1 driver.

The sport is currently booming around the world, but the drivers are polarizing the fan camps, who sometimes angrily scoff at their rivals – especially in the comment columns on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, for example. Russell himself was booed at the parade in Canada for no apparent reason.

“When you climb the ladder, there are many positive side effects, no doubt about it,” says the new Mercedes driver. “But there are also lows and something has to be done. In Montreal, someone called my name and booed me. It’s strange when a 35-40-year-old man boos me without knowing me.”

Russell wanted to show all fans a “good show” and be “nice” and “polite” to everyone. “There are things we have to get used to. We have to accept that we currently live in this world and society,” he says. “And this is another example of something that needs to be eradicated.”

Russell wonders what right the man in the stands has to boo him. He compares it to football, where players are repeatedly victims of psychological violence from fans – sometimes even from within their own supporters’ camps. “They’re just doing their job and giving everything they have for their careers,” says Russell. “A lot of people don’t appreciate that.”

For the British – even after the controversy over the racist statements of Yuri Vips and Nelson Piquet – the exclusion of people is a thorn in their side. “We should also eradicate racism,” he says. “Not only in motorsport, but also in society.” Very important for Russell: The psychological violence in social media must stop.

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