SPIELBERG BEI KNITTELFELD, Austria (AFP) - Lewis Hamilton has called on Formula One and his fellow drivers to stay focused on the sport’s anti-racism stance and present a less chaotic image before next Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
The six-time world champion said after winning Sunday’s Styrian Grand Prix that a number of drivers wanted to stop the pre-race anti-racism gestures and that he feels some teams are not doing enough to show solidarity with the movement.
"The drivers spoke after the drivers’ briefing this weekend about what we intended to do and some were asking ‘Why do we have to continue to do this?’,” he said. "Some felt like once was enough last week.
"I just had to encourage them that racism is here, going to be here and probably be here longer than our time here –- and people of color, who are subject to racism, don’t have time to take a moment to protest and that be it.
"We’ve really got to think, as a sport, what we can do because those are nice signs, but passion is needed.”
Despite Hamilton’s efforts, at least four drivers remained standing while others took a knee and several appeared to be absent when they appeared together at the front of the grid before Sunday’s race.
The previous week, before the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, 14 took a knee and six stood, all explaining why they took that decision. At both races, all of the drivers wore the sport’s "End Racism” t-shirts alongside Hamilton whose shirt carried the "Black Lives Matter” message.
Hamilton’s Mercedes team all took a knee in the pit-lane and on the grid behind the drivers, but the gesture was not unanimously supported by all involved as it has been in many other major sports.