Lewis Hamilton has shown his support to Inter Milan's on-loan Chelsea forward Romelu Lukaku after he was racially abused by supporters during Tuesday's game against Juventus. The 29-year-old was subjected to vile chanting from opposing fans in the first leg of Inter's semi-final meeting with Juventus in the Coppa Italia on Tuesday, which finished level after Lukaku buried a late penalty to cancel out Juan Cuadrado's opener for the hosts.
Lukaku followed up his last-gasp equaliser by putting his finger on his lips in front of the Juventus supporters, which sparked an unacceptable reaction from the stands before the Belgian forward was shown a red card for 'excessive celebration'. Many sporting figures have since offered their support to Lukaku, with Hamilton becoming the latest celebrity to do so via Instagram on Wednesday evening.
The Mercedes driver shared a photo of Lukaku shushing the racist fans, which linked to the striker's own post in which he demanded for action to be taken by the Italian football authorities. It was not the first time that Lukaku had been racially abused by opposing supporters, with a similar incident during a match against Cagliari four years ago going unpunished.
"History repeats," he wrote in the post. "Been through it in 2019... and 2023 again. I hope the league really takes action for real this time because this beautiful game should be enjoyed by everyone. Thank you for the supportive messages."
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Hamilton, meanwhile, has previously been the victim of racist abuse in the past, with fellow world champion Nelson Piquet recently being slapped with a six-figure fine after making discriminatory remarks in an interview last year. The Brit, who remains the only black driver to have ever raced in F1, also revealed in January that he was forced to deal with race-related bullying as a child.
"School was the most traumatising and most difficult part of my life," he told the On Purpose podcast. "I was already being bullied at the age of six. At that particular school I was one of three kids of colour and just bigger, stronger, bullying kids were throwing me around a lot of the time.
"The constant jabs, the things that are either thrown at you, like bananas, or people that would use the N-word just so relaxed. People calling you half-caste and not knowing where you fit in. That was difficult. In my [secondary] school there were six or seven black kids out of 1,200 kids and three of us were put outside the headmasters’ office all the time. The headmaster just had it out for us and particularly me.
"I felt the system was up against me and I was swimming against the tide. There were a lot of things I suppressed. I didn’t feel I could go home and tell my parents that these kids kept calling me the N-word or I got bullied or beaten up at school today. I didn’t want my dad to think I was not strong."
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