London, July 6
Six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has stated he was “silenced” earlier in his Formula One profession over his plans to protest racism by taking a knee.
The Mercedes driver was one in every of 14 who knelt earlier than Sunday’s season-opening Austrian Grand Prix.
Afterwards Hamilton spoke of a dialogue he had years in the past with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose kneeling protests in 2016 grew to become an emblem of the battle in opposition to racial injustice.
“He sat down for the national anthem and got a lot of backlash … I thought that was a really powerful statement that he made and he lost his job,” stated the Briton.
“I had truly spoken to him a few years in the past shortly after that for the US Grand Prix and I had a helmet and all the pieces made in purple along with his quantity on the highest.
“But back then I was kind of silenced, I was told to kind of back down, don’t support it. Which I will say that I regret. So it was important for me to make sure that during this period of time I did my part.” Formula One’s solely Black driver didn’t say who had instructed him to not kneel.
Hamilton wore a special T-shirt to the opposite 20 drivers on Sunday, his studying ‘Black Lives Matter’ on the entrance as a substitute of ‘End Racism’. He stated he had but to resolve what to do for future races.
“Whether that’s continuing to take the knee, I don’t know there’s going to be opportunities to do that. I definitely don’t want to do it on national anthems,” he stated.
The 35-year-old just lately took half in a ‘Black Lives Matter’ march in London however stated he was supporting racial equality fairly than taking any political stance.
“When I wear the shirt and when I speak out, that’s what I’m supporting. I’m not supporting necessarily the political movements,” he added.
Hamilton, whose automotive has modified from silver to black for the season, stated he would proceed to talk out.
“There has been awareness for a few weeks and what we don’t need is for it to die a silent death and disappear and see no change,” he stated. “I could be the guinea pig there. I’ve got to keep speaking out.” Reuters