Sebastian Vettel has endorsed Lewis Hamilton’s support of broadcaster Naomi Schiff, who was the victim of abuse on social media this week.
Hamilton tweeted a message of support for the Sky Sports presenter and pundit who joined their team for this season, only to have her suitability for the role questioned by a social media ‘troll’ on the grounds of her appointment representing positive discrimination.
Schiff, a former W Series driver, responded with a yawning emoji, implying she had heard it all before. Hamilton replied to that tweet, describing the 28-year-old Belgian-born, South Africa-raised ‘Any Driven Monday’ co-presenter as “a great asset” since joining Sky.
Naomi is an ex-professional racing driver & totally qualified to give her opinion as part of the Sky team. She’s been a great asset since joining & we should welcome more representative broadcasting with open arms. Still have a long way to go to change these attitudes in sport. https://t.co/E6U7zX4XqI
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) June 14, 2022
A variety of other people from the Formula 1 paddock also quickly offered their support to Schiff via social media.
Vettel, who, like Hamilton, is among the most outspoken drivers on social and environmental issues, was particularly forthright in his backing for Schiff during an interview with Sky F1.
“I only found out after because I’m not as active (on social media),” said Aston Martin‘s four-time former World Champion.
“But I think it’s a horrible testimony that there are still people out there that…I guess in the end it must be you’re extremely unhappy with your own life, you’re extremely jealous.
“I think she’s a great woman, a very strong woman, she’s beautiful, good looking and I think she does a great job.
“I understand lots of things to be jealous about but it doesn’t take any courage to write hate messages like this. It’s really mean and it hurts. It’s absolutely disgusting.
“Those people should be ashamed of themselves and I wonder whether that’s everything they can do with their lives.”
Hamilton was also asked to expand upon his original comments and described the abuse as “disrespectful and unacceptable”.
“Naomi doesn’t need me to speak out for her, but I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of abuse and racial abuse,” said the Mercedes driver.
“For me, representation is so important. We live in a male-dominated sport and to receive the hate for nothing is disrespectful and unacceptable, so I think it’s important we all stick together.
“I think she’s doing an amazing job. For all the young girls out there from different backgrounds, looking and seeing it’s possible to be in our sport and to have a role in this ecosystem, I think it’s so important.
“But ignorance is bliss, right?”