July 16, 2021

(Reuters) – Seven times Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton said he was inspired by the reaction of England soccer players to online abuse after their penalty shootout loss to Italy in the European championship final.

The Mercedes driver, gearing up for his home British Grand Prix at Silverstone on Sunday, agreed with winger Jadon Sancho who posted on social media that the public response showed “hate will never win”.

Substitutes Marcus Rashford, Sancho and Bukayo Saka all missed spot kicks with the three Black players later suffering racist abuse.

“Love conquers all,” said Hamilton, Formula One’s only Black driver.

“We do have a long way to go, we need to grow from these experiences but I was really, really proud of how the England squad performed and how they handled it as a team, all coming from different backgrounds.

“And particularly those individual players who were in the line of fire. How they handled it, hats off to them. Incredibly inspiring.

“So many people throughout the country have been massively supportive. We’re a proud nation but it doesn’t mean we can’t continue to learn,” he added.

Hamilton is chasing a record-extending eighth win at Silverstone but is 32 points behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after nine races.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)