F1 Black Lives Matter display opens divide between racers

Ruben Hill
September 15, 2020

Formula One's only Black driver did not say who had told him not to kneel.

Carlos Sainz, Danil Kvyat, Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen were the other drivers who elected not to take a knee.

Lewis Hamilton wore a T-shirt with the words "Black Lives Matter". The drivers are set to wear T-shirts bearing the message "End Racism".

"I never requested or demanded for anyone to take a knee".

The race, on a sunny afternoon at the scenic Red Bull Ring was behind closed doors - a Formula One first - due to the COVID-19 pandemic that had put the season on hold since March. He sat down for the U.S. national anthem.

Leclerc and Verstappen were the first two drivers to state their position on a topic that has caused controversy among the F1 drivers.

"I believe that what matters are facts and behaviours in our daily life rather than formal gestures that could be seen as controversial in some countries, I will not take the knee but this does not mean at all that I am less committed than others in the fight against racism".

"I am very committed to equality and the fight against racism".

Hamilton - who was among 14 drivers to take a knee before the first race of the 2020 F1 season in Austria on Sunday - said he had planned a similar gesture three years ago, and regrets not following through with it.

In the Austrian Grand Prix review edition of the Autosport Podcast, Grand Prix Editor Alex Kalinauckas is joined by Jonathan Noble, Luke Smith and Jake Boxall-Legge to recap all of the storylines from F1's comeback weekend.

The second protest resulted in Hamilton being demoted to fifth on the grid instead of second only an hour before the race when he was the centre of attention as the drivers' assembled to show their support for the sport's anti-racism campaign.

Lewis Hamilton has revealed he was "silenced and told to back down" after planning to make a gesture in support of former National Football League player Colin Kaepernick before the 2017 US Grand Prix.

The same confidence, however, was not shared by Ferrari as Charles Leclerc said Saturday's qualifying session was below expectations.

Red Bull F1 driver Alexander Albon was left shaking his head after being denied his maiden podium again, thanks to another clash with Mercedes world champion Lewis Hamilton. "No better way to start the season", said Bottas.

"I continue to try to be that guider and try to influence as many people as I can".

"So, I think it is more perhaps Lewis that the questions should be asked on what he would do differently".

"So during this time, really focusing on getting the Hamilton Commission set up, focusing on the work that I'm doing with the Global Goals, working on the Fight for Peace, the project that we're doing in London, and support them".

"The chat with the drivers was essentially this: all of us are 100% on board with supporting it and ending racism".

The Black Lives Matter UK Twitter account posted messages earlier in the week surrounding the conflict between Israel and Palestine, as well as calling for the immediate defunding of the British police. "But there is a little bit of a fine line, I think, with some drivers and their nationalities and how it's perceived".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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