‘Kneeling was the right thing … I want people to be excited to be part of the change’: Lewis Hamilton willing to master again to fight racism … but won’t force any F1 driver example to follow after SIX declined
- Lewis Hamilton was a leader in talking about the lack of diversity in sports
- He and many other fellow drivers fell to their knees before the Austrian Grand Prix
- He says he will do it again, but will not force the other drivers to follow his example
Lewis Hamilton is willing to ‘take a knee’ again, but will not force any of his fellow Formula 1 drivers to follow suit.
The six-time world champion spoke after leading Formula 1 in an anti-racism demonstration for Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix, where he finished fourth.
Six drivers – including Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, Max Bull’s Red Bull and 2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen – declined to take a knee, as Hamilton felt they were putting excessive pressure to prove their anti-racism. He had controversially claimed that “silence is an accomplice.”
Current F1 champion Lewis Hamilton was a leader in talking about more diversity in sports
The Formula 1 division came to the fore because a number of drivers did not kneel before BLM
With the next race on Sunday, again in Austria, Hamilton opts for a more conciliatory approach.
He said, “Consciousness has increased in recent weeks. We don’t need to die a silent death without change.
“I can be the guinea pig and keep speaking out. But no one should be forced into a scenario where they have to kneel.
“I am very grateful to those who did it with me. It is a powerful message, but whether you kneel or not kneel it will not change the world. It is a bigger problem than that.
Six drivers, including Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen, chose to stand rather than kneel
“Everyone was entitled to that choice and kneeling was the right choice for me.”
All drivers wore ‘End Racism’ T-shirts on the grid prior to the national anthem, while the sport’s governing body (FIA) pledged nearly £ 1 million on Sunday to fight racism.
Hamilton added, “This protest started with Colin Kaepernick (the NFL star in the US). It was a powerful statement and he lost his job and never got it back.
“I spoke to him for the 2017 US Grand Prix and I had a helmet with his number on top.
Lewis Hamilton was a vocal supporter of the BLM movement and mastered Sunday
“But I was silenced and told to go back. I regret that, so it was important that I played my part this time.
“Whether I get the chance to take the knee again, I don’t know.
‘In the background I keep improving my education. I don’t want people to feel compelled. I want people to be excited to be part of the change.
“For me, Black Lives Matter is not about politics – it’s about equality.”
Hamilton tweeted after the race, ‘Today was an important moment for me and all the people who work for and hope for change. For a more equal and just society.
Hamilton tweeted after the race that ‘this fight is about equality, not politics or promotion’
“I may be criticized in the media and elsewhere, but this fight is about equality, not politics or promotion. For me, it was an emotional and moving chapter in progress to make F1 a more diverse and inclusive sport.
“I want a better future for our generation and those after us. So much has to be done.
“Nobody is perfect, but if we all participate and do our part, we can see change. I really believe that.
“Thank you to my team for their incredible support and hard work this weekend and thank you to everyone who supported. Let’s go on, guys. See you next week. Love. #EndRacism #BlackLivesMatter ‘