Formula 1 driver Lando Norris says he lost social media followers for supporting Black Lives Matter protest
Norris had urged US authorities to take action against police officers behind killing of George Floyd and sign a petition to fight discrimination.
Formula One driver Lando Norris for McLaren says he lost followers on social media after expressing his support for anti-racism protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis.
Video footage showed a white police officer kneeling on the neck of Floyd, 46, for nearly nine minutes before he died on 25 May, triggering outrage and protests around the world.
Twenty-year-old Norris, who has over 400,000 followers each on Twitter and streaming platform Twitch, had urged them to take action and sign a petition to fight discrimination.
“It’s the biggest day in terms of the most people that have unfollowed me on all my social media channels,” Norris told the Evening Standard.
“You try to do what’s good and what’s right, but also so many people don’t believe in it. If they don’t believe in it, then I’m happy they unfollowed me,” Norris said.
“But I’ve got to make the most of the opportunities to show people to believe in what’s right ... Whatever way I can try to persuade them to believe in the right thing, I will try and do that.”
Lewis Hamilton, Formula One’s first black world champion, had previously criticised his sport’s silence in the aftermath of Floyd’s death and backed protesters who toppled the statue of a 17th-century slave trader in the English port city of Bristol.
Verstappen is a major threat to Hamilton's bid for an eighth world title to surpass Michael Schumacher and stand alone among F1 greats. He leads Hamilton 7-5 for wins this season and 7-3 for pole positions.
Hamilton, the championship leader, set a new lap record three times in qualifying but because his team incurred a 10-place grid penalty by changing his engine ahead of the race he will start 11th.
The AlphaTauri driver was .24 seconds quicker than Red Bull driver Sergio Perez and .6 clear of Perez's teammate Max Verstappen on the 5.3-kilometer (3.3-mile) Istanbul Park circuit.