Lewis Hamilton backs courage of 'brave' Vinicius after racial abuse | Inquirer Sports

Lewis Hamilton backs courage of ‘brave’ Vinicius after racial abuse

/ 07:36 PM May 26, 2023

Formula One F1 - Monaco Grand Prix - Circuit de Monaco, Monaco - May 25, 2023 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton ahead of the grand prix

Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monaco – May 25, 2023 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton ahead of the grand prix REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw

MONACO–Seven-time Formula One world champions Lewis Hamilton praised Vinicius Junior on Thursday for the Real Madrid striker’s reaction to the racial abuse he has suffered in Spain.

Hamilton said the Brazilian international’s declarations about racism in Spanish football had been “brave”, describing the abuse as “devastating” and a reminder of his own earlier experiences.

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Vinicius, 22, who has faced abuse since he joined Real in 2018, was targeted with racist chants and gestures during Real Madrid’s 1-0 defeat at Valencia last weekend.

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Vinicius said La Liga “belongs to racists” and criticized the league for a lack of action after being racially abused several times over the past two seasons.

Vinicius Junior Real Madrid

Football – LaLiga – Valencia v Real Madrid – Mestalla, Valencia, Spain – May 21, 2023 Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior gestures towards a fan REUTERS/Pablo Morano

“It’s devastating to think that in 2023 we’re still seeing these things and hearing these things,” said Hamilton ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.

“It really hits home for me. It really brings up emotions, things that I experienced, whether it was in the UK or whether it was when I was racing in Italy or France or Spain.

“It can be so hurtful the things that people say. I think he has been incredibly brave.”

Earlier on Thursday, four men detained on suspicion of hanging an effigy of Vinicius from a bridge in January were banned from Spanish stadiums.

The men, who were detained Tuesday, were released on bail and banned from coming within 1,000 meters of a Liga stadium during matches.

The dark-skinned inflatable dummy was hung by the neck from a bridge near Real Madrid’s training ground several hours before a derby clash with Atletico Madrid on January 26.

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TAGS: Lewis Hamilton, Vinicius Junior

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