F1 drivers split on taking the knee as 10 took part in an anti-racism message and 10 opted for it

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F1 drivers split after taking the knee as 10 take part in anti-racism message – including Lewis Hamilton – and 10 choose against it … while sport’s latest star Mick Schumacher wears a Black Lives Matter T-shirt prior to the first race

  • The 2021 Formula 1 season started on Sunday with the first round in Bahrain
  • All 20 drivers took part in F1’s ‘We Race As One’ demonstration before the start
  • However, the stars split on the knee, with 10 remaining
  • Mick Schumacher wore a Black Lives Matter shirt leading up to the race

Formula 1 kicked off its 2021 season in Bahrain with a strong anti-racism demonstration before the lights went out, but drivers were split over the knee from the start.

Half of the 20 stars remained on a banner that read “ We Race As One, ” the title of the sport’s anti-racism campaign.

It was a much more organized affair compared to last season’s chaotic pre-race demonstrations, but the drivers have disagreed on the core gesture yet.

The F1 season started on Sunday in Bahrain with the first anti-racism message of the year

The F1 season started on Sunday in Bahrain with the first anti-racism message of the year

Half of the drivers took the knee, with Lewis Hamilton continuing to make the gesture

Half of the drivers took the knee, with Lewis Hamilton continuing to make the gesture

Half of the drivers took the knee, with Lewis Hamilton continuing to make the gesture

F1 rookie Mick Schumacher wore a Black Lives Matter shirt and was one of 10 to kneel

F1 rookie Mick Schumacher wore a Black Lives Matter shirt and was one of 10 to kneel

F1 rookie Mick Schumacher wore a Black Lives Matter shirt and was one of 10 to kneel

The racers who did kneel were Sebastian Vettel, Lance Stroll, Lando Norris, Daniel Ricciardo, Nicholas Latifi, George Russell, Pierre Gasly, Mick Schumacher, Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton.

The Briton was spotted down the line and will have noted that his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas as well as Nikita Mazepin, Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz, Kimi Raikkonen, Antonio Giovinazzi, Max Verstappen, Esteban Ocon, Yuki Tsunoda and Fernando Alonso chose to stand .

Last season’s messy campaign became an organized affair during the off-season as it was decided that drivers could make their own gestures in support of the ‘We Race As One’ effort.

Hamilton, who campaigned for every driver to get a knee in 2020, backed the decision: “ I don’t think it’s the most important thing for everyone to kneel.

‘It’s about what we do in the background, make a positive change.

“We will see how we can work together so that the sport takes more of the lead.”

Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc (left) and Carlos Sainz were among those who stood still

Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc (left) and Carlos Sainz were among those who stood still

Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc (left) and Carlos Sainz were among those who stood still

Lewis Hamilton has backed F1's move to allow drivers to make their own gestures to support

Lewis Hamilton has backed F1's move to allow drivers to make their own gestures to support

Lewis Hamilton has backed F1’s move to allow drivers to make their own gestures to support

Ferrari driver Leclerc also avoided the gesture last season, not wanting to associate himself with the political side of the Black Lives Matter movement and the violent nature of some of their protests.

However, he faced backlash and accusations of racism for his stance, hit back in a furious statement, saying, ‘I am not a racist and I absolutely hate racism.

“Stop putting me in the same group as these disgusting people who discriminate against others.”

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