Lewis Hamilton apologises to Red Bull chief Helmut Marko after deleting outburst on fake Black Lives Matter quotes


Lewis Hamilton has privately apologised to Red Bull chief Helmut Marko following his deleted social media posts that were based on fake quotes regarding the Black Lives Matter movement.

The six-time Formula One world champion posted the same message on Instagram and Twitter on Wednesday morning condemning Marko for a comment that appeared online.

Reports suggested that Marko had labelled the Black Lives Matter protests a “distraction” for drivers like Hamilton, which Red Bull’s Max Verstappen had ignored and that would help him to wrestle the world championship off the Mercedes driver when the 2020 season gets underway next month.

The statement had allegedly emerged from an interview with German broadcaster RTL, who hold the television rights for F1 in Germany, which took place at the Red Bull Ring in Austria on 5 June.

However, the quotes were not real and Essentially Sport, the website which initially ran the story, has since apologised to Marko.

It triggered an angry response from Hamilton, who has been active in supporting the Black Lives Matter movement since the tragic death of George Floyd last month.

“Helmut, it deeply saddens me that you consider fighting for equal treatment of black people and people of colour, a distraction,” Hamilton said on social media.

“I’m actually quite offended. A distraction for me was fans showing up in black face to taunt my family on race weekends. A distraction for me was the unnecessary and additional adversity and unfair treatment I faced as a child, teen, and even now, due to the colour of my skin.

“I hope this speaks volumes to the few people of colour you do have on your team, about your priorities and how you view them. Wake up. This sport needs to change.”

However, the statement was quickly deleted from Facebook, before being removed from his Instagram story an hour later, after it was revealed that Marko did not make the comments. It appears that they were instead manufactured by a spoof Twitter account.

The Independent understands that Hamilton has since contacted Marko privately and apologised for the outburst, which the Austrian has accepted. Both parties now view the matter as closed, and have moved on.

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko accepted the apology from Hamilton (Getty)

Marko has also confirmed that he never said the comments, and was taken aback by the story when it was highlighted to him on Wednesday morning by the Red Bull press officer.

Speaking to Autosport, Marko said: “She asked me what I really said in the interview. I didn’t even know what she was talking about. That’s when it all started. It completely caught me by surprise.”

Marko did have sympathy for Hamilton given the emotionally-sensitive subject of the matter, with the British driver having been subjected to racist abuse during his F1 career.

“He is emotionally very involved,” Marko added. “As a racing driver, he is not obliged to do research whether this is true or not. In that respect, his reaction is understandable to me.”


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