Hamilton didn't request F1 drivers take a knee on Austrian GP grid

Ruben Hill
September 15, 2020

It is expected that the drivers will all wear t-shirts in support of their stance against racism, but Hamilton hinted their reluctance to go further and take a knee may be due to a lack of understanding of racism.

Antonio Giovinazzi, Daniil Kvyat, Carlos Sainz and Kimi Raikkonen were the other drivers to remain standing.

Hamilton tweeted after the race: 'Today was an important moment for me and all the people out there who are working for and hoping for change. "I could be the guinea pig there".

"All of us, myself included, we have to be accountable".

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

"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 thought that was a really powerful statement that he made and he lost his job", said the Briton.

Hamilton made the intriguing revelation that he had been "silenced" when National Football League star Colin Kaepernick first inspired him to try a knee gesture. But I was silenced and told to back down. "I definitely don't want to do it on national anthems", he said. "I want a better future for our generation and the ones after us".

© 2020 Formula One World Championship Limited SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 05: Some of the F1 drivers take a knee on the grid in support of the Black Lives Matter movement ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 05, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria.

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. It is a powerful message but whether you kneel or do not kneel, that is not going to change the world.

"I think there is always a risk of overtaking on the outside, but I gave it as much space as I really could". It was brought up by F1 and the GPDA. When we did the drivers' briefing, Seb (Vettel) and (Romain) Grosjean both brought it up and asked the drivers whether or not they would do it and there were several that said they wouldn't.

In a statement, the GPDA chairman Alex Wurz said: "All 20 drivers stand united with their teams against racism", adding that they would show their public support for the cause ahead of Sunday's race, but recognising and respecting that each individual has the freedom to show their support in their own way.

"I am very committed to equality and the fight against racism, "but I believe everyone has the right to express themself at a time and in a way that suits them".

Hamilton sought to clarify that there is a difference between what Black Lives Matter stands for and the group in the United Kingdom on Twitter that used its platform last week to push a political agenda, which carried antisemitic connotations as well as calling for the immediate defunding of the police.

"Certain people are making it more political than it is and then there is UK Black Lives Matter that has spoken some more political issues", Hamilton explained.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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