Lewis Hamilton has strongly backed the protestors who pulled down the statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol, in a social media post that also slammed the British government’s handling of COVID-19 – saying “we need better leaders”.
Hamilton, who returns to Formula 1 action behind the wheel of a 2018 Mercedes at Silverstone on Wednesday, opened his posting by questioning the fact that UK borders have remained opened without mandatory testing over the past two months.
Although a mandatory two-week self-isolation period will come in for all arrivals from outside the UK on June 8, this will be the first time there have been such restrictions in place.
“You could have saved thousands of lives. We need better leaders!” :: Lewis Hamilton
The latest numbers on COVID-19 deaths in the UK is 40,542, second only to the United States in terms of total deaths officially recorded by country.
“I’m appalled at the UK government on how they have handled COVID,” said Hamilton on Instagram.
“You should have closed the borders months ago. How you can let people fly in from countries without being tested is baffling.
“You could have saved thousands of lives. We need better leaders!”
Hamilton also commented on the statue of slave trader Colston, which was torn down on Sunday and thrown into the harbour as part of anti-racism protests in the UK.
The statue was erected in 1895 as a tribute to Colston, who died in 1721 and was a key player in the English Royal African company, meaning he was directly involved in an estimated 84,000 Africans being sold into slavery.
Hamilton suggested that the statue should be left in the water as a fitting tribute to those who died while being transported – a number estimated at 19,000 of the total Colston was connected to.
“Watching the news today regarding the statue torn down yesterday, if those people hadn’t taken down that statue honouring a racist slave trader, it would never have been removed,” said Hamilton.
“There’s talks of it going into a museum. That man’s statue should stay in the river just like the 20,000 African souls who died on the journey here and were thrown into the sea, with no burial or memorial.
“He stole them from their families, their country and he must not be celebrated.
“It should be replaced with a memorial for all those he sold, all those that lost their lives!”