By Alan Baldwin
LONDON (Reuters) – Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton sent his fans a burst of positive energy on Friday after he started the week by saying he felt like “giving up on everything” because the world was in such a mess.
The 34-year-old Mercedes driver is on the brink of winning his sixth championship, possibly in Mexico next week, with his team already sure of a sixth successive title double after sealing the constructors’ crown.
“Good morning world,” Hamilton told his 13.2 million followers on Instagram.
“I just wanted to send a message of positivity to you. I hope your week’s been amazing and wishing you a great weekend.
“I appreciate all the positive vibes you’ve sent my way. I haven’t given up, I’m still right here fighting!”.
The Briton raised eyebrows on Tuesday when he started an Instagram story, which disappeared after 24 hours, with some cryptic comments.
“Why bother when the world is such a mess and people don’t seem to care,” the 34-year-old said then.
He later made clear he was talking about the environment and wanted people to follow a plant-based vegan diet, as he has done.
That post, soon removed, drew supportive comments from concerned fans as well as criticism from those pointing out his global footprint as a racing driver flying around the world for a car manufacturer sponsored by an oil giant.
Damon Hill, the 1996 world champion, sounded a supportive tone on Twitter, while appreciating that Hamilton would get “no end of flak.
“We are all hypocritical to greater or lesser degrees,” he added. “But if people like him don’t speak out then we all carry on in the same vein and don’t even try to change. It’s not that bad, eating carrots.”
Hamilton, who sold his private jet earlier in the year but still has a collection of supercars, is no stranger to stirring up social media.
In 2017 he deleted all his instagram posts and apologised after posting a video in which he jokingly chastised his nephew for wearing a princess dress on Christmas Day, saying ‘boys don’t wear princess dresses.’
He recently deleted all the accounts he follows on Instagram, saying he “wanted kind of a fresh slate.”
“You wake up and the first thing you do is turn on your Instagram and check what’s happening. You’re always catching up and I just decided to change,” he said then.
“I wake up now and I have a bit of a read, I start my day differently and I’m hardly ever on it and this has made a big difference to my life, personally.”
At McLaren in 2012 Hamilton tweeted confidential team telemetry, and in 2016 he kicked up another storm by playing around with Snapchat during an official news conference and then taking issue with the media.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)