Williams Formula One driver Nicholas Latifi said that he has received death threats for his involvement in the controversial finish of the championship-deciding season finale in Abu Dhabi.
Latifi crashed with five laps to go, which led to a safety car period and decisions by the race director that erased the commanding lead held by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and set up a pass to claim the win and title by Red Bull's Max Verstappen on a final green flag lap.
Latifi said he received thousands of social media messages that were mostly supportive but also many filled with "hate and abuse," and he wanted to address the "bigger issue" publicly.
"This isn’t some scripted statement, but rather me speaking my mind in the hope that this maybe sparks another conversation about online bullying and the drastic consequences it can have on people," Latifi wrote on his official website.
Latifi said he expected this sort of response, "but as we’ve seen time and time again, across all different sports, it only takes one incident at the wrong time to have things completely blown out of proportion and bring out the worst in people who are so-called ‘fans’ of the sport. What shocked me was the extreme tone of the hate, abuse, and even the death threats I received."
The Canadian thanked those that did support him and said the only people he has to apologize to are his teammates, for not finishing the race.