Lewis Hamilton on difficult season for Mercedes in November
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Lewis Hamilton has revealed he kept details of his on-grid Black Lives Matter protest a secret from his own team over fears they “wouldn’t understand”. Hamilton took the knee ahead of the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix, the first race back from the coronavirus shutdown.
The race was also the first to be held since the death of George Floyd which sparked protests in America and Britain. However, Hamilton has revealed he didn’t share details of his plans to his team ahead of taking action.
Speaking to the Jay Shetty podcast, Hamilton also explained why he snubbed F1’s official ‘End Racism’ message for something more powerful. duplication of ‘revealed’ from previous par He said: “There’s a right way to do it but the first day I was going to take the knee, I didn’t feel like I could tell my team. Because I felt that they wouldn’t understand how important it is for me to do this on this day.
“I remember I had my Black Lives Matter shirt hidden and I just wore it out there and I went ahead with it. The sport had made all these t-shirts with the ‘We Race As One’ slogan and they gave these t-shirts to everybody and I was like ‘I’m not wearing that, that’s not what this is about’, and so this is what I’m doing.
“But that was just a fear, they have been massively supportive through the whole thing. My hope was that kids would be watching me and saying ‘Why is he taking the knee? What does that shirt mean? What is going on Dad, Mum?’ And then the parents would have been in an awkward position having to explain it.”
Hamilton was the only driver to wear a ‘Black Lives Matter’ top on the grid in Spielberg. The Mercedes driver was supported by several drivers including Sebastian Vettel and Lando Norris who also took the knee.
However, Hamilton is set to be silenced next season after the FIA banned drivers from making political statements ahead of races. Drivers could be in breach of the rules for sending a message to fans unless they have prior approval for actions in writing by the governing body.
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FIA boss Mohammed ben Sulayem denied allegations he was shutting down drivers’ opinions by claiming the move was aimed to “clean up” the sport. He stressed the FIA “should be neutral” and hinted that penalties could be issued for those that ignore the rule like “speeding in the pit lane”.
He added: “One thing we don’t want is to have the FIA as a platform for private personal agenda. We will divert from the sport. What does the driver do best? Driving. They are so good at it, and they make the business, they make the show, they are the stars. Nobody is stopping them.”
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