15 Feb 2022 | 1:28 p.m.
Canadian Nicholas Latifi was so affected by online abuse and death threats after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that the Formula 1 driver hired bodyguards for his sightseeing trip to London with his girlfriend.
The 26-year-old Montreal native was threatened after the season-ending race, where he crashed his Williams car into a wall just laps from the end. It led to a safety car, and late drama ensued when Max Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton on the final lap to claim the world title in one of the most controversial moments in F1 history.
“I was back in London after the race and had safety with me when I went to Winter Wonderland with my girlfriend,” he said Tuesday after Williams’ 2022 unveiling at Silverstone. “You have to take threats seriously because you don’t know what might happen and it’s just an unfortunate reality of the world we live in, and there have been extreme death threats that have overstepped the mark.”
As outrage grew among some observers at how Hamilton missed out on a record eighth title, Latifi was unfairly caught in the crosshairs and took the threats very seriously after the December race.