Hamilton withdraws attack on Helmut Marko
"It was wrong for us to publish the news story"
Lewis Hamilton has withdrawn a scathing rebuke of Dr Helmut Marko after it emerged that comments attributed to the Red Bull official were not real.
The six-time world champion said on social media that he was "offended" that Marko had reportedly pointed out that "certain drivers" were "distracted" by political issues while Max Verstappen is fully focused on winning the title.
"Some drivers are distracted, talking about lives that matter," the false Marko comment stated. "The only thing that counts for Max is the world championship."
Hamilton responded: "Helmut, it deeply saddens me that you consider fighting for equal treatment of black people and people of colour a distraction."
In a lengthy post, he also told Marko to "wake up".
But the Mercedes driver deleted the posts after Red Bull denied that Marko made the comments. Then, the website that published them admitted it had fallen for an instance of fake news pedalled by a parody Twitter account.
The website had attributed Marko’s false comments to the German broadcaster RTL, who revealed that they had taken several calls from Red Bull as well as other officials in Britain and Italy.
RTL reporter Felix Gorner said the situation was "completely absurd".
"It was wrong for us to publish the news story without first establishing the veracity of the information," Abhishek Bharadwaj, a writer for Essentially Sports, said.
"We sincerely apologise to Dr Helmut Marko and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing."
add_circle Hungarian GP 2021 - Red Bull Racing preview
More on Red Bull
add_circle ’Loyal’ Russell rules out Red Bull move
add_circle Hungarian GP 2021 - Mercedes F1 preview
More on Mercedes