Nicholas Latifi has stated that he hired a bodyguard for a trip to the UK because he was afraid of being attacked by fans of Lewis Hamilton.
Williams driver, Nicholas Latifi was compelled to take extra protection with him on his winter vacation to the UK after receiving death threats after the Abu Dhabi season finale.
Last December, Hamilton and his fans were left distraught after the Englishman was denied a record eighth world title in contentious circumstances on the penultimate lap of the season finale at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The disagreement arose after Latifi wrecked on the Yas Marina circuit late in the race, requiring the deployment of a safety car.
Consequently, Hamilton’s advantage over title rival Max Verstappen was wiped out after race director Michael Masi contentiously called lapped cars between the leading pair to pass the safety car.
Surprisingly, it was the Red Bull driver who won, as he passed the seven-time world champion on much fresher tyres and went on to win his maiden world title.
While Latifi was not directly involved in the outcome, it appears the Canadian felt a sense of responsibility for Hamilton’s defeat and feared the Englishman’s fans would take it out on him.
He later got death threats, which he and Williams took extremely seriously, to the point where he said at the unveiling of the Williams FW44 that he had to take extra security precautions during his post-season vacation.
“It sounds silly to some people,” he said. “But at the end of the day, you don’t know how serious people are.”
“All it could take is one drunk fan at an airport, or you bump into someone that’s having a bad day intoxicated or under the influence of something and has these really extreme opinions.”
“All it takes is that one in a million.”
“So, [after] some days I was back in London after the race and I did have some security with me when I was doing certain things.”
“So yeah, it sounds funny, it sounds silly, but we definitely did take the threats seriously because you really don’t know what could happen.”
“It’s just an unfortunate reality of the world we live in and there were extreme death threats that went way over the line.”