Lewis Hamilton has condemned the racist abuse suffered by three England footballers after the Euro 2020 final, saying it "shows how much work needs to be done" in society to end racism.
England lost the final in a penalty shootout to Italy, with England players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, who are all Black, missing spot kicks. All three were subjected to racist abuse online, and on Monday a mural of Rashford in Manchester was defaced.
Hamilton, the only Black driver in F1 history and a seven-time world champion, with a record number of Grand Prix victories, said society needs to get to a place where Black athletes aren't solely accepted after victories.
"So much was running through my mind as [I] watched the final moments of the match last night," Hamilton wrote on Instagram. "On one hand I was so proud of how far we have come ...to be in the final and with such a diverse team is a huge achievement we should all be proud of but as the players stepped up to take the penalties I was worried.
"The pressure to deliver is felt by every sportsperson but when you are a minority representing your country this is a layered experience. Success would feel like a double victory, but a miss feels like a two-fold failure when its compounded with racist abuse.
"I so badly wanted that win like all of you but for me it was for much more than winning the [Euros], it was a much bigger picture. However, the disgusting behaviour by the few, shows how much work that still needs to be done. I hope that this opens a conversation around acceptance.
"We must work towards a society that doesn't require Black players to prove their value or place in society only through victory. Ultimately everyone on the England team should be so proud of their achievement and how they represented us."