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2021 Spanish Grand Prix, Sunday - Steve Etherington

Hamilton: “We’re only human beings”

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This week Lewis Hamilton has called out the organisers of the French Open to show support of fellow athlete Naomi Osaka. 

Credit: @naomiosaka on Instagram

During the Azerbaijan driver’s press conference Hamilton was asked for his comments on athletes seeking professional help for mental health problems. He was sure to make clear he did not feel he was best placed to advise on this. Interestingly he also said he doesn’t believe in sports psychology. Nevertheless, he took the side of Osaka and applauded her bravery and hailed her an “incredible athlete and human being” stating that her activism has been “impactful”.

He recalled how overwhelming it can be to be thrown into the spotlight, especially at such a young age. Hamilton then went on to talk about the lack of support he got from his PR team when starting out in F1 and that he learnt how to be in front of a camera through the mistakes he made. He explained how nerve-wracking it can be and how the media can use the good intentions of athletes and take advantage.

Lewis also said he hoped that her bravery will make the people in charge reconsider how they responded to this. He was appalled that someone speaking about their own personal difficulties with mental health led to them receiving a fine.

as athletes we are pushing ourselves to the limit, we are on the edge and we’re only human beings.

We have all seen how much the media can interfere in all sports, this is particularly common in sports like football, hopefully, we will not see it take over in F1. However, as Lewis said, being in the spotlight can be intimidating, even for seasoned professionals such as himself. This may explain why his disappointment and anger shone through in his post-race interviews last round in Monaco. Hamilton was quick to blame the team for the difficulties they faced but was reluctant to take any blame initially. Sometimes it is difficult to be completely professional when dealing with a disappointing result and thanks to Hamilton’s impressive run of races over the past few years it isn’t often he has to digest a poor weekend like Monaco.

This may add to why Hamilton feels so passionately about the way Osaka has been treated by the ‘big wigs’ in tennis.

Headline Credits: Mercedes Media

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