Most Formula 1 drivers joined a ‘take a knee’ protest ahead of the start of the Austrian Grand Prix.Lewis Hamilton‘s sported the ‘black lives matter’ slogan.
He was among 14 drivers in the 20-strong field who knelt ahead of the race, along with Alexander Albon, Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Perez, Romain Grosjean, Lando Norris, Esteban Ocon, Pierre Gasly, George Russell, Sebastian Vettel, Valtteri Bottas, Lance Stroll, Kevin Magnussen and Nicholas Latifi.
Among the six drivers who did not take a knee, Charles Leclerc explained his reasons for doing so.
“I believe that what matters are facts and behaviours in our daily life rather than formal gestures that could be seen as controversial in some countries,” Charles Leclerc said on social media. “I will not take the knee but this does not mean at all that I am less committed than others in the fight against racism.”
Max Verstappen also chose to stand during the pre-race ceremony. “I am very committed to equality and the fight against racism,” he said. “But I believe everyone has the right to express themself at a time and in a way that suits them.
“I will not take the knee today but respect and support the personal choices every driver makes.” Carlos Sainz Jnr, Daniil Kvyat and Alfa Romeo drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi were the others who did not ‘take a knee’.
Lando Norris, who did kneel, urged his followers not to “make assumptions about what decisions drivers take on the grid to express their support against racism”.
“We all share the same belief in ending racism and supporting equality for all,” said Norris.
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