‘We don’t need experience like tomorrow to prove that’: Lewis Hamilton claims drivers are split over taking a knee before Austrian Grand Prix confirms racism in Formula 1
- Lewis Hamilton believes racism troubles Formula 1
- Many drivers are expected to master Black Lives Matter on race day
- But a quarter of drivers are uneasy about this because of political factors
- World champion Hamilton struck by the silence of some of his fellow drivers
- The Austrian Grand Prix starts the Formula 1 season on Sunday
Lewis Hamilton claims that the disagreement between his fellow drivers about taking a knee for Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix is further evidence of racism in Formula 1.
Shortly after being beaten to pole position by the teammate Valtteri Bottas for the season-opening race, Hamilton was asked if the split was evidence of a problem within the sport.
“We know there is a problem,” said the Mercedes driver. “We don’t need experience like tomorrow to prove it.”
Lewis Hamilton believes that a disagreement over drivers taking a knee before the Austrian Grand Prix is proof that there is a racism problem within Formula 1
During an exciting virtual gathering of all 20 drivers at the Red Bull Ring at Spielberg on Friday evening, the topic of knee taking was discussed. But the drivers did not reach a unanimous conclusion.
Some are expected to be ready to take over the gesture. However, it is believed that at least a quarter of the network is uncomfortable because of the political prospects of the Black Lives Matter movement.
There was also a sense of disappointment in some circles that Hamilton called on drivers who chose not to post an anti-racism message on social media. “I know who you are and I see you,” Hamilton wrote last month.
“We spoke a little bit in the drivers’ briefing, yes, interestingly,” Hamilton added with heavy sarcasm.
About a quarter of the grids are uncomfortable to master due to the ties to the politically sensitive Black Lives Matter movement that Hamilton (above) supported
“I don’t know what we’ll see tomorrow. People may pay their respects in their own way.
“I just described that silence is complicit and in some cases it is still silent. So I thanked those who said something on their social media platforms – because they have a great voice – and encouraged the others who didn’t say it.
“It’s about helping people understand, because there are those who don’t fully understand what’s happening and the reasons behind these protests. I try to keep guiding and influencing as many people as possible. ‘
The teams will leave their drivers to make a decision, while the FIA emphasizes that it is not the task of the sports federation to instruct the pilots on what is essentially a political decision.
For this Formula 1 season, Mercedes threw out their traditional silver colors, while Hamilton helped design their all-black car to promote anti-racism
But the shared grid could put the sport in the embarrassing position of some drivers taking a knee, and others not, minutes before the Covid-19 era’s first global sporting event.
All drivers have agreed to wear End Racism t-shirts when they line up for the Austrian national anthem. A banner with the same message will also feature prominently.
Hamilton, the sport’s only black driver, has talked a lot about racism in recent weeks. But then, in a seemingly contradictory statement, the 35-year-old refused to confirm whether he would even take a knee.
“I have no plans at the moment,” said Hamilton. “I didn’t think that far ahead. I am sure I will do that tonight. ‘
Hamilton’s Mercedes team is racing this year in an all-black livery to send a challenging message against racism.
They’ve dominated all weekend at the delayed season opener here – but it was Bottas who disrupted the chances of beating Hamilton to the top spot on the grid. The Finn was only 12 hundredths of a second faster than the Briton.
Hamilton congratulated his teammate on his achievement, before praising him for his anti-racism design on the back of his helmet that shows hands from different racial backgrounds.
“Great job from the team today and this man here,” said Hamilton. “Look at the back of his helmet, this is a sign that shows all hands together, regardless of your color, which I really respect. Let’s hope for a great race tomorrow. ‘
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finished third, albeit half a second behind the dominant black machines, with young Brit Lando Norris delivering the best performance of his career to qualify for McLaren in fourth.
Ferrari entered the new campaign, fearing that they would be after the big battle teams. And their fear was confirmed here when Sebastian Vettel was eliminated from the second qualifying phase.
The four-time world champion, who is advanced by the Scuderia at the end of the year, qualified only 11th, 1.2 seconds of the pace. His teammate Charles Leclerc slipped to the top-10 shoot-out, but is only in seventh place.