F1 drivers take a knee, Red Bull Ring, 2020

Hamilton may ‘take a knee’ again, Kvyat explains why he didn’t last week

2020 Styrian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says he may ‘take a knee’ again in a gesture of support for the Black Lives Matter movement ahead of this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.

However changes in the pre-race arrangements ahead of the second event at the Red Bull Ring means the drivers are unlikely to perform a similar joint gesture as most of them did last week.

Asked by RaceFans whether he plans to take a knee again on Sunday, Hamilton said: “I don’t really know. This weekend I don’t believe we have that position that’s ahead of the national anthem where we have the space and the time to utilise the moment and make a stand.”

He made it clear he will not take a knee during the pre-race national anthem performance, as competitors in other sports have done. “It’s not my goal to take a knee during the national anthem,” he said.

Hamilton said he was pleased by the show of support against racism last week in which all drivers took part and 14 ‘took a knee’.

“It was really encouraging to see at least one of the teams taking the knee,” he said. “I think it was the Red Bull team, one of the Red Bull team cars taking a knee which I thought was great.

“Maybe if we have time there’s something my team and I could do. It’s just about time, there’s not a lot of time before the race.

“But what I do think is important though, is we, people of colour don’t really have the time to just have this as a small moment and then go back to things as normal. We really have to continue to speak out, to continue to utilise the moment to spread awareness and try to continue to push for change.

“That’s not going to go away any time soon, that’s not going to change in just a couple of weeks. So I will do my utmost. I’m not against taking a knee again so if I can find a way of making sure it doesn’t get in the way of us doing our job then I will.”

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Last week Hamilton revealed that at the 2017 United States Grand Prix he had been discouraged from wearing a helmet in support of American football player Colin Kaepernick, who originated the practice of taking a knee to support protests against racism.

Drivers take a knee, Red Bull Ring, 2020
Most drivers took a knee last week
He elaborated on the incident today, saying he was “advised from outside, from someone in the States who is really quite high up, that it wasn’t the time for me to be doing so and there were potential consequences of me doing it. So that’s why they advised me not to do it. Otherwise, I don’t remember who else was involved.

“But it’s not particularly important. I do still have that helmet that I’d done for Colin and I did speak to Colin about it, who was super-supportive for me to have taken the knee. I’m grateful that I was able to do it last weekend and continue on the great movement that I think he initially started and so many are continuing today.”

Daniil Kvyat, who was among the drivers who did not take a knee, said he did not want to make a gesture which is associated with other meanings in his native Russia.

“This obviously became a sensitive topic and I want to explain that of course, our clear side on the Sunday before the race was to wear the T shirts which were stating ‘end racism’,” he said. “I thought it was a very strong, already, message to the world in general from the sport, from myself.

“There was other options to express the feelings also in some other ways. And some people chose to do it, some people chose not to do it.

“For me, I would say my mentality it doesn’t really – and in my country – doesn’t allow me to go on my knee. It’s only for a very particular reason. I’m ready to show in any way that I am against racism. But the knee is something that I opted not to do on Sunday.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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65 comments on “Hamilton may ‘take a knee’ again, Kvyat explains why he didn’t last week”

  1. Not really an answer from Kyvat there.

    1. Sure it is. It’s a sensitive topic where he could be easily misquoted. And English isn’t his first language.
      Definitions of words are being changed all the time in this era of wokeness.

      1. GtisBetter (@)
        9th July 2020, 19:57

        What words have been changed?

    2. Hampus Söderberg
      9th July 2020, 18:40

      @StuBeck

      “a gesture which is associated with other meanings in his native Russia.”

      Possible to google about this if you want to know the whole history of it. All drivers were there with the message to end racism, which is also the message the kneeling was meant to give in this moment and I think it’s fine to not do it if you think it can give an unwanted message. It’s a big world with different traditions and cultures and most gestures have different meanings in different places. I think it’s something we need to respect. Had drivers refused to wear the shirt on the other hand I think it would’ve been a issue.

      1. Still not clear from the article, which stated it explained the reasoning.

        1. @stubeck and others, please think about this critically. @racefanatic, makes a reasonable point. I also agree that the article didn’t seem to do the best job of explaining the reasoning. Perhaps it is lost in translation, perhaps the interviewer(s) didn’t take the time and effort to get further detail. Allow me to attempt to provide some context.

          Based on my understanding of Russian history, which could admittedly be incomplete, there are two valid reasons why Kvyat would be fully supportive of BLM, the End Racism campaign, and similar movements while finding it inappropriate for himself to take a knee—particularly during a national anthem. Those reasons are:

          1. When Russia was under the control of the Mongol Emperor, Kahn I believe, their princes and other rulling class members were forced to travel to visit the emperor and kneel before him to express their submission. Therefore, it is possible that Kvyat sees kneeling during the starting announcements of a sporting event or national anthem of another country as an expression of submission to someone other than his beloved country and not simply a display of solidarity with BLM.

          2. I have seen photos of Kvyat at home or with family where there are clear and numerous Christian religious symbols in the background. Given that he is Russian, I would take this to mean that he and those around him are likely Eastern Orthodox Catholics. Devout and traditionally minded Catholics, like the Eastern Orthodox, believe that communion should be taken while kneeling to show respect to Jesus Christ, who is embodied in the communion host they are receiving, and to God. Therefore, it would also make sense that Kvyat would want to reserve such a gesture for such an important ritual—especially when you realize that the races happen on Sundays, the same day that he would be receiving communion at Mass. He might feel that repeating the gesture during a sporting event a few hours offset from when he receives communion is disrespectful to his faith even if it is in support of the BLM movement.

          If you apply either option, it would make sense then why he would have done everything to show support of BLM movement and End Racism campaign with the single exception of kneeling.

          1. Thanks @jmwalley for this thorough explanation, it seems very reasonable and understandable now why Kvyat didn’t knee. And it was nice from him to take the other initiatives to show support.

          2. Thanks for the explanation. My contempt for the article was based on how it said it explained his reasoning, which it didn’t. He just said “I have reasoning”. You’ve explained why its an issue, which the article should have.

    3. Nobody needs to explain why they didn’t feel the need to grovel for a corrupt organisation.

      End racism yes, but not while supporting BLM and it’s antics.

      1. Agreed, wish Hamilton would do his homework on BLM and switch to end racism instead.

        1. You mean like spending the last decade working with others to open up education for those who are disadvantaged?

          1. @riptide no, that’s not what I mean.

    4. @stubeck

      It seemed pretty clear to me. Kvyat is religious and he only wants to kneel for God, but he didn’t want to offend the non-religious by saying it.

      1. What absolute twaddle

      2. Decent answer, very respectful towards us. (also Russia is doing Politics a nono so he stays on the safe side as this looks like Politics)

  2. Oh God, again.
    I can see another major on-track blow coming, this weekend.
    Great chance for Valtteri, though.

      1. He is a strange little fellow isn’t he?

        1. @riptide
          You probably call “strange” people who, contrary to you, have the courage of speaking the truth.

          1. An opinion is not a truth. If you believe it is then you really are strange.

      2. @david-beau
        Ahah f@nb0y.
        ANd you don’t even have the basic courage of your “ideas”, since you haven’t tagged me.
        Grow a pair.

        1. You need to refill your hate juice. Hamitlon dominated the weekend. What were you saying now?

  3. Will Alexander Albon kneel again, I wonder?
    He did last week, but if he has second thoughts about it this time round I can understand.

    1. I don’t get that Bart. Why would Albon feel different about diversity and fighting racism this week than he did only last week?

      1. He will not feel different about diversity and fighting racism, but he may feel different about the way to show it in a way that Lewis set into motion – less happy to play along this time.

        1. Albon seems like a very decent person. The fact they collided on track would make no difference whatsoever in his decision to kneel.

  4. “I think it was the Red Bull team, one of the Red Bull team cars taking a knee which I thought was great.

    I do not have a clue what this is?

    1. The crew around one of the red bull cars took a knee at the same time as Hamilton and co. did

    2. All red bull team members took a knee next to the car during the knee moment.

  5. TBH, I don’t understand the point in making a fuss out of kneeling or not kneeling in the first place. People should just put this matter to bed already.

    1. You have to understand that this is a status game. People are being sorted into lower and higher tiers.

      1. an irrelevant status though. This is not the medium to be getting across a BLM/anti racism message. People come to F1 to watch F1 races not be taught a lesson, and I would hope, that most who do follow are not racist, but for those that are, they won’t change because a few F1 drivers say its bad or took a knee or advertising around the A1 Ring…sorry, Red Bull Ring say not to.

        Just like if they were vegetarian and telling me to stop eating 500g slab of rare steak, its not their place to tell me and they would simply be ignored and I would carry on as I like. If my Doctor told me that I could die next week if I carry on eating meat then I would listen, but a F1 driver? no chance. Likewise, for racists, they need to learn it from someone closer to home, someone of influence in their personal life, not from some characters they see on the TV or read about in the media.

        1. I agree one hundred percent and I am Asian.
          I am a strict vegetarian but I would NEVER be so arrogant as to tell anyone what they can and can’t or should’nt eat. That’s outragious.
          Basic humanity is taught at home and if that is or wasn’t done then that is simply an example of thoroughly poor breeding.
          Hopefully Lewis who I admire hugely will find there are more effective ways of carrying this message across.
          This is very much a white man’s sport and the racists within the sport will simply wait for him to retire and then carry on being racist! But he stands to impede his own progress and he may find the racists within the stewards will look for every opportunity to block him from achieving a 7th WDC so that a white retains that distinction!
          I can understand that and every racist would too!
          My wish is for him to focus on the task at hand for now.

  6. Newey is a genius managing to find the space on the Redbull cars to add knees.

  7. They all wore “End Racism” shirts last week. Why are we making a big deal if drivers kneel or not? How many hoops does one have to jump through to prove you’re a normal person who isn’t racist?

    1. I don’t know. Perhaps the people asking the questions could tell us why they feel the need to keep bringing it up. Perhaps its good copy, or more clicks? Then again if the people who have had enough of it stop clicking on the story and commenting, the clicks would go down and maybe those reporting it would find something else to ask questions about?
      And as others have said, most of these stories have been cribbed from the in depth Sky interview from last week; and the Mercedes legacy broadcasts. Given the the current F1 bubble I suspect that the majority of stories are being generated by those who have had no contact with Hamilton whatsoever on the matter.

    2. GtisBetter (@)
      9th July 2020, 19:59

      Basically act like a normal person. No jumping through hoops needed. We’ll just assume that people are nice and not racist until they act otherwise.

      1. I generally agree with you although there is a subtle side of racism when polite people use schemes to impose discrimination upon members of another race. Remember the season of 2007? When a black rookie was in position to win the championship. It was the fussiest F1 season I ever watched. Black rookie had to finish 5th in one of the last two races if I remember correctly. After China fiasco – the most stupid race tactics ever witnessed, to be more precise – I really hoped with all my heart that he’ll do it in Brasil. All of a sudden a software glitch almost stopped his car. Considering the context of everything happening that season I cannot be convinced that most of it was to prevent black rookie to do something no one has done before. In a very subtle way, of course. Last weekend he was penalized twice! I’m not saying that penalties were act of deliberate racism, by no means. However, there is more of subconsciousness in it. You know when you just feel, beyond any explanation, that someone deserves something in negative sense more than he really does. The reason is ‘just because’. I hope that the black man will become the most successful F1 driver of all time soon. For me, he already is!

        1. I’m sorry but this is just rubbish imho.

          No one within McLaren would have wanted Hamilton to lose in 2007 because he’s black. Saying that both his strategy in China and the software problems in Brazil were deliberate to sabotage his championship is accusing them of outright racism and willing to lose a championship and tens of millions of Euro’s over it. That’s beyond insane.

          1. Yeah, that’s an absurd assumption to be making. If Mclaren were racist they wouldn’t have sponsored him from an early age and then given him a drive in an F1 car in the first place.

        2. Sabotaging Hamilton’s car at Brazil because of some Spygate repurcssions in some way, very very small possibility. Sabotaging Hamilton’s car because he is black, seriously that’s beyond ridiculous.

        3. See this is part of the problem, seeing racism where it doesn’t exist or ‘pulling the race card’ when it suits.

          F1 teams (and F1 itself) have had decades of dealing with drivers from every corner of the planet, its probably one of THE most naturally Integrated and diverse environments in sport!

        4. tony mansell
          10th July 2020, 10:07

          Keep taking the medicine boomerang. Just up the dose

    3. It’s not about proving that you’re not racist, it’s about sending a message to the racists out there who do bully kids in karting and make certain of them feel uncomfortable that those at the very top of their sport won’t tolerate it. That said, whichever bellend of a journalist tried to pick at why a Russian driver felt the need to choose a different way to express himself needs to take a long hard look at himself in the mirror. Sugar stirring journalists like that can do one and go cover a different sport.

      1. Summed it up perfectly.

  8. this knee taking business needs to end..this is becoming a distraction.

    1. It is becoming a distraction from the actual issue itself: racism.

      Instead of talking about what systemic racism actually is, what the unconscious and racially fueled biases and assumptions are that facilitate everyday racism and discrimination in society, or what it may feel like to have to face it in all it’s big and small forms on a daily basis for a person of color, we are only talking about who did or didn’t do something and resort to a ‘he said, she said’ discussion of an embarrassingly shallow level.

      1. The truth doesn’t support ‘the narrative.’ By focusing on these kinds of silly gestures, people get to attack others for not playing these meaningless games, rather than debate their actual beliefs, which is far more dangerous.

        For example, the study that you can find by searching for “Johnson, Tress, 2019” shows that the police shoot people relative to their criminality. In neighborhoods with lots of crime by white perpetrators, they shoot lots of white people. In neighborhoods with lots of crime by black perpetrators, they shoot lots of black people. No evidence was found of a bias against black people in the probability to shoot them, which is consistent with other studies.

        1. Absolutely true, there is a database in the Washington Post that keeps track of the police and is available to anyone who cares to look beyond those with an axe to grind by stirring up hatred. That would be the media for clicks, Democrats looking for some reason to be relevant and BLM leaders because if the truth was widely known they would be out of a job.

    2. Your statement distracted me … but I’m over it now.
      There are three broadcast national anthems each and every race, giving time to contemplate…nothing.

    3. A distraction from the fact that 90% of black deaths in America happen at the hands of other black people!

      Apparently lives only matter when a white person is involved…

      1. You have the option to ignore it before the race starts. It’s called freedom of expression

      2. That’s a strawman usually dropped with other catchy soundbites in all caps (red), the stat you’re looking for is two and half times more likely to be killed by the cops than white fellas.

        1. Another stat you might like: black people make up around 13% of the US population but commit around 50% of all crimes.

  9. Good Job Hamilton. A true leader in sport. They may laugh at him now…. but after his legend is cemented everyone will look back and say, that driver… that driver was really ahead of his time…

  10. I could be mistaken, but I thought the whole point of “taking a knee” was to take it during the playing of the National Anthem of the country where the practice originated. It was Kapernick’s way of signalling that the country as a whole was not doing enough to combat racism.

    My suggestion to Lewis then would be that it is durning the National Anthem that it should be done, not at some other time, but maybe he/they should carefully examine the host countries record for supporting and acting to reduce/eradicate racism and then make the decision as to whether or not to take a knee.

    Please let’s return the practice back to what the originator intended – to call his government and his sport out, then to me it would have more of a direct impact.

  11. In the UK, the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign want to abolish the police and release all criminals from jail.

    At Cambridge University, Dr Priyamvada Gopal tweeted ‘White Lives Don’t Matter’ and was promoted. Imagine if a white academic had tweeted ‘Black Lives don’t matter’ – they would have been out on their ear PDQ.

    The ‘taking a knee’ is just copying thousands of years old practice of genuflection – a gesture of deep respect for a superior.

    1. Liberating every nations by asking them to bend the knee or face the wrath of fire? Seems like a scene from games of thrones.

  12. RaceFans had a chance to interview Lewis and used the opportunity to asked about some knee.

    Looks like I was a bit harsh on every social justice moaning report when actually it was RaceFans’s activism all along.

    1. Seriously? Man you need to maybe have a think before firing off comments – they’re becoming more and more out of control.

      I suspect you’re trying to offer an opinion on something but it’s clearly not coming across as such.

      1. What are you talking about? That’s exactly my opinion. You demand everybody saying the same thing?

  13. “Take a knee”. Where is he taking it to? Crazy how these Americanised phrases creep in. It’s “bend the knee”.

  14. Sergey Martyn
    10th July 2020, 14:55

    The slavery and racism have existed for hundreds of years. Why Lewis became so excited about it only during the last weeks? Why he didn’t kneel and never attended any protests during all the previous years? Another question – why only Kvyat is mentioned and discussed for not kneeling? What about Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Kimi Raikkonen, Antonio Giovinazzi and Carlos Sainz?

  15. Pat (@patrick1972)
    10th July 2020, 17:22

    Haven’’t seen any comments on it. But every time I see the “End Racism” banner from FIA quickly pass by, due to the font type used it really looks like it says “2ND racism”.

    First time my mind went, that can’t be right and had to rewind and freeze the image.

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