Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2021

Hamilton taking break from “very toxic” social media – brother

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton’s brother explained his absence from social media as the seven-times champion has gone silent since his controversial defeat in the final round of the world championship last year.

In brief

Hamilton on “break” from social media during off-season

Nicolas Hamilton, who races in the British Touring Car Championship, discussed his brother Lewis’ absence from social media while streaming on his Twitch channel.

“I think he is just having a bit of a social media break,” Hamilton explained. “Which I don’t blame him for. Social media can be a very toxic place.”

The pair were spending time with their family, he added. “He’s cool though, he’s fine. He’s watching the kids ski at the moment.”

Ferrari junior Bearman signs with Prema for FIA F3

Ferrari Driver Academy member Oliver Bearman will make the step from Formula 4, in which he won both the German and Italian titles this year, to FIA Formula 3 with Prema for the 2022 season.

Bearman, 16, tested for Prema during the F3 post-season test in Valencia and impressed the team enough to take a race seat. “The results he achieved this year speak for themselves and we have obviously been observing him as rivals,” said team principal Rene Rosin.

“The step for him will be huge and particularly challenging, with a lot to learn, but we will do everything we can to help him maximize his potential and be competitive right from the start.”

Steiner: Haas not looking for additional reserve driver in 2022

Günther Steiner said that Haas is not looking to change its reserve driver roster for 2022, despite testing Robert Shwartzman post-season in Abu Dhabi.

“At the moment we have no plan to have another reserve driver,” Steiner said. “I don’t know yet what Pietro [Fittipaldi]’s going to race next year, if he’s racing at all. I don’t know that yet and we have to wait for that one to see if we need somebody.”

Teams will be required to run a junior driver in a limited number of sessions next year, but Steiner admitted “we are not this far down the line to see what we are doing” to fulfil that requirement.

Ferrari 2021 recovery due to having “grown a lot as a team”

After Ferrari recovered from a dire 2020 campaign to finish third in the constructors’ championship this year, Charles Leclerc said the team has made clear improvements operationality over the last 12 months.

“We’ve optimised the track operations strategy and just a way of trying [to] maximise our package,” he said. “I think we’ve done a great job on that this past year.

“Of course, [there’s] still a lot to work on the overall package of the car. But as a team we are working well. We know what are our weaknesses and we are working on them, we’ve definitely grown a lot as a team in the past year.”

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Comment of the day

Looking back at the season’s controversies, F1 Frog says that awarding points at Spa was not so much an issue of fairness – compared to the failure to give refunds to ticketholders.

I know it’s controversial, but I really do think awarding points in Spa was the right decision. In terms of the title contenders, as an example, it is more likely that Verstappen would have outscored Hamilton in that race if it had gone ahead because he qualified two places ahead, and deserves some reward from that.

The same is true for any pair of drivers on the grid. I think it would be more unfair if George Russell had received zero points after that qualifying effort, than the nine points he did receive, even if it is a bad way to get a first podium.

There is no way in which this race could have been concluded in a satisfactory way, and I think this was better than the alternative. I have seen it suggested that this is not fair because it was given the same number of points as if half the race had been completed, but I don’t agree that this is a problem. At least this way, every driver/team had exactly equal chance to get the results and points; from the qualifying session.

When a race is stopped at half-distance, you get more bad luck. One example would be Monaco 1984, where Ayrton Senna was catching Alain Prost before the race was stopped, while another would be Interlagos 2003 when Coulthard pitted just before the race was stopped. The latter was given full points.

So I think it is no less fair to award half-points for a qualifying session when the race cannot take place, than for a race that is only partly completed. However, what I do not agree with is the decision not to refund the fans who sat in wet mud for six hours and didn’t see a single racing lap of Formula 1.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Jsc, John Graham and Dynamite Clock!

Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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63 comments on “Hamilton taking break from “very toxic” social media – brother”

  1. Don’t blame Lewis. Twitter in particular is a horrible toxic cesspit, not just in this case or Latiffi’s but in general, full of faceless anonymous angry people who wouldn’t say anything face to face

    1. I’ve been getting an uncomfortable feeling there’s a lot of people in the F1 twitters-sphere who genuinely looked for a “great white hope”. I don’t believe it’s genuinely the case, it’s just the idiots who want anyone to “overcome” the successful one, but it’s a feeling I can’t shake.

      1. Derek Warwick, one of the stewards who sat in Abu Dhabi, made comments about Verstappen being the great white hope

    2. Agree 100%, Twitter was fun in the early days such as the early 2010’s during a NASCAR race but move ahead 11…12 years it doesn’t matter how great a race they put on. The twitter mob will find something to complain about. Worst place on the social media platforms.

    3. I’m surprised anyone is on social media to be honest, no good comes of it. My wife and I got rid of everything in 2014 and we’ve never been better from a mental health perspective.

      Take the mobile numbers and emails of the friends who really matter (honestly you’ll end up with a list of 10 people at most) and stay in touch that way. Everything else you see on social media is noise you don’t need in your life.

      1. I’m surprised anyone is on social media to be honest

        This website is considered Social Media as well (due to the importance of the comment section) ;)
        And we see the same toxicity here as well.

        And many Celebrities use Social Media to increase their ‘relevance’ (celebrity status) and/or cash in on that status.

        1. Using the broadest sense of the concept yes I suppose it is. But you’ll also note my comment rate is waaay down on what it was pre-2014 and I never, ever comment on controversial incidents.

          The internet has no understanding of nuance…

          1. The equivalence of saying you quit drinking, being called on saying that as your drinking a beer, then saying well duh… it’s Wednesday! I only drink during the week! Then cockily saying the other person doesn’t understand nuance.

            I promise you I ain’t mad at you, and I would absolutely comment if I heard someone say this in real life!
            Not gonna lie, I lol’d
            Have a beautiful day!

        2. I guess you can consider a comment section as social media. But it isn’t. If it is some software I wrote in 1992 invented social media.

        3. jff This site is a form of social media, sure, but to think of it as being like a twitter or a facebook is like comparing a neighbourhood lemonade stand to a nestlé or a coca cola corporation. I think that the difference in scale matters, and is what fundamentally makes the larger entities undesirable.

      2. Any public expression stream that filters posted content based on narrative or anything else beyond basic decorum (profanity, etc) is “social media” in the negative sense, and in the “sec 230 is broken” sense.

        This site is one of those. So this site is social media.

        1. Social media is defined by how the interaction works.

          RaceFans is social media because it has an interactive comments section in the first place. It still would be regardless of moderation style. Also, Section 230 is inapplicable in the UK, which lost its strict net neutrality clause several years ago. UK webmasters only have to declare commercial instances of net non-neutrality – i.e. examples where someone paid to create preferential treatment – and then only in certain situations. The only sense net neutrality requirement obligations apply to RaceFans is that ads are clearly marked as such.

          1. Agreed, and none of that contradicts how I worded it. “filtering” accentuates the “negative sense”. Interactive comments alone make it social media. Types of moderation can add the “negative sense”.

            And sec 230 was cited as in the sense that it is broken, not that it would apply here. It was just to point out the filtering is itself signal (which in the USA, there is a cake and eat it too issue wrt signal and liability).

    4. A few years back I had Lewis marked down as totally lost in the social media scene due to his circle of friends and his other interests.
      Good to see he is control of it rather than letting it control him.
      Everyone should take regular breaks from social media for the sake of their sanity.

    5. José Lopes da Silva
      29th December 2021, 9:26

      Good for Lewis. Social media will eventually be considered, by everyone (sooner than the law), an addiction and a nuisance. The step that GeeMac mentions in 2014 I took it (somehow, at least) in 2019, after realizing the time I was loosing.
      Regarding this comments section, I usually ignore trolls or ignore the comment section altogether. But the comment section is not worst that the WhatsApp group of an amateur karting competition I’m in where suddenly people start talking about politics.

      1. Given that some of the major social media platforms actively research how to accentuate the addictive aspect, I’d hope eventually they get sued into the ground, given that they are at least as bad as tobacco companies. Both in researching addiction and lying about it.

        1. greasemonkey Good analogy! Both twitter and smoking give the customer a sense of being “with it” accompanied by an underlying accumulative toxicity.

      2. U can thank Sore Lew and this writer for making things political.

    6. I’m more worried about the large number of people who are happy to put their face to horrible comments, knowing they’ll face no negative consequences and some positive consequences for doing so.

      1. (And yes, Twitter is particularly bad for it, though this year I’ve seen it even on social media channels that have heretofore appeared immune to open toxicity).

    7. Don’t forget the blue checkmarks who do the same you just described but aren’t worried of being not-anonymous since they’re protected anyway.

  2. Piastri’s helmet is so reminiscent of Webber’s, I’m surprised he didn’t mention it as inspiration. Surely he had a keen eye to it growing up.

    Also social media growth charts are a horrid abomination. With the kind of audience social media has so clearly attracted, why are they being used as a judge of worth of anything?

    1. @skipgamer Remember, 57% of Twitter accounts are bots of one sort or another. That’s a large enough population that any reasonable observer of social media stats should ask what proportion of each number is humans (in which case the account may well be doing something right) vs bots (in which case it’s probably just manipulating the engagement economy and SEO metrics).

      1. Remember, 57% of Twitter accounts are bots of one sort or another.

        elaborate on that.. do you have a credible source for this statement?
        Or is this a typical social media statement.. dropped without any proof.

        1. Bots aren’t the real problem, it’s click farms, near impossible to distinguish. It’s not hard to find places that you can pay for engagement on social media, and it’s near impossible to spot and stop the good ones.

      2. @alianora-la-canta The latest serious study is showing that figure to be closer to 15%, but that is still nearly 48 million accounts that are active on at least a monthly basis being non-human on Twitter. Of course bots are getting more sophisticated, so this is a conservative analysis, as some bots may have been mistaken for humans. Here is a link to that study, titled Online Human-Bot Interactions: Detection, Estimation, and Characterization: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1703.03107.pdf

    2. @skipgamer “Social media growth charts are a horrid abomination.” Absolutely this. As someone who had visceral negative reactions to the relatively avoidable toxins of 20th century marketing, today’s social media landscape and the power it wields genuinely gives me dread. I try to limit myself to polite sites like this one haha.

  3. RE: COTD

    At least this way, every driver/team had exactly equal chance to get the results and points; from the qualifying session

    Well if they had been told this was a possibility, I am very sure some drivers would have optimised their setup for qualifying and not make any attempt at tyre life preservation for the race. So it wasn’t a fair chance to every driver.

    1. Certainly it’s not fair. Points are not awarded for qualifying. Points should not be awarded when drivers are not even given the opportunity to pass another car, that is not a race.

    2. Well, they all had an equal opportunity to recognize that the rulebook allowed for such a scenario.

      Of course, whether the rulebook is optimal is another issue. Re. COTD, it’s easy to rationalise decisions in F1 by comparison to historical decisions, because historically, there are plenty of bad decisions to choose from. I can’t argue with COTD’s logic in that regard.

      But I think that F1 could take a page out of US series like IndyCar and Nascar, where a race is not official until it reaches half-distance. Until that point is reached, there is no race, and so there can be no race result. To me, that’s more satisfactory than a 3-lap race with no green flag running that awards half points.

      1. @markzastrow I think I pointed this out at the time, but F1’s half-points rules are basically a hangover from the old red flag procedure. If a race was red flagged with less than two laps completed it would be completely abandoned and restarted from the original grid. After 75% distance a red-flagged race was deemed complete and would not be restarted.

        This way of handling red flags disappeared in the mid-2000s – now red-flagged races are “suspended” rather than stopped – but the old method of awarding points remains.

      2. @markzastrow The problem is that the rulebook did not allow that scenario.

        Races are only allowed to be held if a) the helicopter can launch and land, or b) the ambulance can get to hospital within 20 minutes. Otherwise, it’s against the regulations for any running to be attempted.

        At no point during Spa’s Sunday was either a) or b) met. Therefore, no running should have happened (even under the Safety Car) and the race should have been declared invalid.

        This would also have enabled the ticket-holders to get refunds off someone, even if there is a certain distaste in making the circuit owner (who’s already several million out-of-pocket) spend another several million doing that compensation rather than F1 (which probably secured a small profit from that weekend because they’re still able to get paid due to at least one session that weekend having started).

        The teams that believed the regulations would be applied as written would be exactly those teams who lost the most (since they would have set their cars up for a wet race and suffered in qualifying as a result, rather than a cynical parade that required nothing except qualifying pace).

        1. @alianora-la-canta Not sure why you’re bringing the rule book into this. We all know it’s now official policy to allow “the show” to override any rules, even those in place for safety reasons.

          1. to override any rules,

            The rules are there to create a race. The meaning of an SC is to resume racing as soon as possible. You do not deny racing was possible i guess, so it was a correct decision.
            The rules even have a paragraph specially designed for those occasions and that one was used.
            So, nu rules broken and a race. Exactly what every F1 fan wants.
            And yes, a SC in the last part of every race will always shake things up.

        2. @alianora-la-canta I don’t ever recall the medical helicopter being deemed not able to fly—do you have a source for that? IIRC, the support series were racing in even worse weather conditions, and the visibility issue for F1 was the spray they were kicking up, not the meteorological lack of visibility.

    3. Of course some drivers and teams would have had setups more in favour of qualifying, and others in favour of race conditions, and there is some luck involved here. But the difference it would have made is minimal compared to the examples of things that happen when races are stopped around half-distance, or any time before the end, like Perez crashing in Japan 2019 being undone by a timing error.
      I think my point, put simply, is that normally a good qualifying is rewarded with a strong starting position on the grid, but when there is no race, it makes sense that it should instead be rewarded with a reduced number of points.

    4. His point isnt that it’s fair, his point is that it would be even less fair if no points were awarded at all considering the outcome of the qualifying session.

    5. I suspect Williams did exactly this – set up in the belief that there was unlikely to be a race.

      1. Very unlikely.. The weather predictions had an opening in the rain that never came.
        But they expected racing until the SC situation.
        George took more risk and was simply faster then lewis.

        btw, while there was a lot of rain.. the Helicopter was able to fly. maybe youtube still has some recording form the helicopter.

  4. Is that masi champion max

  5. He’s cool though, he’s fine. He’s watching the kids ski at the moment.

    I love the idea of uncle Lewis watching the kids. Not that I don’t like the part of his personality where he displays his love for fashion and music, or when he stands up for equ(al)ity for all. It’s just that those last two are such easy targets for people to enlarge and hate him (and in turn it’s very easy to hate someone who wins day in and day out) that you’d easily forget that he is a very humble, smart and kind guy – the Lewis Hamilton from the Top Gear interview years ago isn’t that different from the Lewis Hamilton who drove the late great Frank Williams around Silverstone or the Lewis Hamilton who was interviewed by David Letterman.

  6. Stop trying to drag Verstappen, or anyone else in fact, in any racist conspiracies you made up.

  7. @noname

    I get that the practice of making these kind of wild allegations that are not based on any facts are part of a certain ideology, which is shared by the journalists running this site, but it’s extremely toxic to accuse people like this.

    1. @aapje What are you talking about ? Show me one other instance were the race director let through only the lapped cars between No1 and the No2 but didn’t allow the cars between Max and Sainz to unlap themselves.. You just proof my point of you Max fans

      1. There isn’t any other instance, but, untill you give any evidence, there’s no reason to think that Masi’s flawed decision was made based on anyone’s skin colour.

  8. People like you that say Max isn’t a worthy champ, forget that on that day the Red Bull was simply the slower car, hence Max was unable to get anywhere near Lewis.

    Lewis lost NoName. Get over it.

    1. @RJ Losing is not a problem, it can make you better actually but this was not losing and you know it, this was blatant manupilation to hand it to Max no matter what. It doesn’t surprise me if Latifi parked it in the wall on purpose, all the create a show instead of following rules. Had Lewis pit then Masi would have 100% end the race behind to safety car to hand it to Max that way. How can Max fans even be happy to win like this ?

      1. @Admin, i didn’t meant to flag/report RJ’a comment, i pushed it by mistake.

  9. While I completely, and I mean completely, disagree with any hint that there was racism from the FIA or Max, Twitter is full of hate and bile.
    I do think that there was an inclination to favour Max all season – if not directly, then by being just a little lenient and erring on the side of giving him a shot he hadn’t earned.

    Lewis was the winner of this championship, by any fair and reasonable measure. Max would have also deserved it, had he won it on track – but he didn’t. He was gifted a chance to overtake that he didn’t deserve due to the FIA breaking there own rules, at the direct request of Whinger Spice.

    1. @sham

      “I do think that there was an inclination to favour Max all season”

      Really Sham?

      So when the FIA allowed Lewis to cut the track short 29 times, it was to favour Max?
      So when the FIA brought out the red flag at Imola, which gave Lewis the chance to fix his car and unlap himself, it was to favour Max?
      So when the FIA, at the request of Mercedes, introduced new rear wing tests, it was to favour Max?
      And when that same FIA refused to take action against Mercedes’ front wing, it was to favour Max?
      So when the FIA introduced new, tailor made for Mercedes, tires, it was to favour Max?
      So when the FIA red flagged Silverstone and gave Lewis a chance to repair his car, it was to favour Max?
      And that meaningless 10 sec penalty was a proper penalty for such a dirty move?
      So when the FIA introduced, at the request of Mercedes, new pit stop rules, it was to favour Max?
      So when the FIA decided to penalize Max at Monza based on his position in the corner PREVIOUS to where the incident happened, it was to favour Max?
      Yes, Brazil favoured Max.
      So when the FIA decided not to penalize Lewis for ignoring double yellows, it was to favour Max?
      So when the FIA decided not to reprimand Lewis for blocking Mazepin, it was to favour Max?
      So when the FIA didn’t take action against Bottas his sleaze ball move under the SC, it was to favour Max?
      So when the FIA didn take action against Lewis his sleaze ball move on the way to the restart, it was to favour Max?
      So when Lewis was not penalized for pushing Max off track, it was to favour Max?
      So when the FIA decided to penalize Max, despite ordering him to give the place back, and Lewis, being paranoid for no reason whatsoever, complicated everything with his particular driving, it was to favour Max?
      So when the FIA let Lewis keep his place, despite being overtaken in a gorgeous manner, it was to favour…..oh wait, in hindsight it actually did favour Max?

      “Lewis was the winner of this championship”

      Correction: Lewis would have been the winner of this championship had it not been for:

      – his error at Imola costing him a win.
      – his lacklustre performance in Monaco
      – his gigantic error in Baku
      – his lacklustre performance in Austria
      – his lacklustre performance at Monza
      – his refusal to pit in Turkey
      – his refusal to give up the place in Abu Dhabi

  10. Interesting how he can stand the stress of F1, and not the slings and arrows of social media. Can’t take critisim?

    1. because they are two entirely different things maybe?

    2. I just don’t get why he wouldn’t be totally insulated from it. Have an account with real family and friends and have someone run this aspect of his life. We’ve had social media in this current form for 20 years now. This isn’t new.

      1. Like just about everyone who is a ‘name’ he will have plenty of private accounts for different purposes. And I think people actually misunderstand what he has done. He is hardly totally isolated. He has deleted those he follows on Insta. About 800 people. Not the 50 million or so who follow him across the platforms. Or those he follows on other platforms.
        No different to other drivers who take a break. Especially this time of year where they are focused on preparing for next year. As Russell has done; without much more than a murmur.

    3. It’s a matter of choice Alex – as simple as that. The fact that you are questioning his choice to stay away illustrates exactly why he opted to do that. Why would you have a problem with that?

    4. Well, there’s fair criticism and then there’s social media…

    5. He controls his F1 car, and now he controls his social media exposure. It’s interesting that more people don’t have the courage to follow his example.

  11. When he was winning title after title, the social media was a happy place. Now that he’s lost his first title in 5 years and the same social media is toxic and unbearable.

    1. Have you not been following recent events?

  12. This always reminds me that these icons are real people. I mean who is this weak to let social media get to them? Especially when at the touch of a button someone else could be running his social media and he would never have to think about it again. The great equalizer in the end. Everybody wants to see how many likes they have. Strange world.

    1. @darryn Turns out that the answer is “most people need social media breaks sometimes, most fans who pay attention to social media hate it when accounts are obviously run by someone else, and not everyone is lucky enough to have access to someone as subtle as Lando’s ‘minion'”.

  13. Can’t say I blame him – his own #TeamLH are angrily stewing in a total pit of toxicity.

  14. I don’t blame him for taking a break from media, he will be thinking about his future in f1. He knows he had the slightly better car and failed to win the title (Any one who doubts the Merc was best, just step back and look, they won the title with Bottas in one of the cars, I like Bottas, but he is average by F1 driver standards).
    Put that down to early form and a few mistakes, then introspective analysts of if the mistakes/form are a sign of a point in life where it starts to fade a little.
    Will the car be among the best next year?
    Will George take more away than Bottas did (I think he will), possibly even beat Lewis.
    These are some of the things Lewis will be pondering and trying to quantify in a decision to continue or not.

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