Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Silverstone, 2020

Hamilton challenges rivals’ reasons for not ‘taking a knee’

2020 British Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton praised F1’s new official ‘end racism’ observance which took place before yesterday’s British Grand Prix but queried why some of his rivals do not join others is ‘taking a knee’.

After Hamilton and other drivers criticised the rushed arrangements for a similar gesture ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, this weekend’s ceremony was given a dedicated slot and formal structure communication by the FIA.

“I think that Formula 1 did a much, much better job after a lot of discussion, a lot of talking last week about how we can come together and do a better job,” said Hamilton after the race. “You could see [it] was a lot more professional.”

The FIA advised drivers of various “suggestions” for how they could indicate their support before the race. This including ‘taking a knee’, as the majority of drivers have done since the season began.

The gesture has become widespread in other sports. Teams in Premier League football, the National Basketall Association and many other leagues have kneeled in unison prior to games. Hamilton questioned why this isn’t the case in Formula 1.

“I’m not going to tell you what my opinion on whether or not everyone needs to or not,” he said. “But if you look at all the other sports, look at basketball, you look at football and Spanish teams, Italian teams, teams all over the world, no matter what nationality or mixture they are, they’re all doing it united. You’ve got players from Russia you’ve got players from Spain.”

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Some drivers who haven’t taken a knee say they prefer not to because they are concerned how it would be interpreted in their home countries. Hamilton pointed out other sportspeople from the same countries to not appear to share those concerns.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2020
FIA working with Hamilton Commission on diversity goals
“When the reason for perhaps not doing it is how you think it will feel how would it be perceived in your country, all you have to do is look at the other sports because they are doing it. So I do hope that bit by bit we can come more and more together and more united.”

During Sunday’s end racism ceremony Kevin Magnussen, who has previously taken a knee, chose not to, joining six other drivers who haven’t done since the season began. Hamilton indicated his gratitude to all the drivers for joining in the new ceremony, which featured video of all the drivers talking about the importance of equality.

“I’m really proud of all the drivers wearing the ‘end racism’ T-shirt,” he said. “I think there’s progression.

“I don’t know why Magnussen hasn’t [taken a knee], I have not spoken to him. But bit by bit I think we’ll just try to improve each other’s understanding.

“The most important thing is the drivers continue to have respect for each other, I think, which we do. Maybe there just needs to be more conversation. I know that Formula 1 hasn’t spoken to any of the drivers and no one else perhaps probably has spoken to them individually.”

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2020 F1 season

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182 comments on “Hamilton challenges rivals’ reasons for not ‘taking a knee’”

  1. I respect all sports people who ‘take a knee’.
    I object all those who opinion on what kind of gesture others should do.

    1. Oh, and on the matter of “stop racism”: yesterday we had a nice intro with kids before the race. I can’t find it anywhere so I’m not able to check, but what I noticed at the moment was a… lack of racial diversity. Maybe it was because all the overalls were white and my connection was flaky, but I noticed only 1 (quite cool tbh) black kid, ironically the last one. Even if they were actual little drivers, F1 should have done a better job adding actors to support their own cause.

      Again, I just watched it once so I may be wrong, hopefully.

      1. Didn’t meant to reply here, but whatever.

      2. Lack of diversity, yes! Since there are no grid girls it became so male dominated. Bring back grid girls!

        1. larry smith
          4th August 2020, 1:25

          Grid Girls Matter..Bring them Back

    2. Paddy Down Under
      3rd August 2020, 12:50

      Lewis has such a big, powerful platform to promote the cause of equal opportunity.

      Speaking of equal opportunity…

      I wish F1 fans had an equal opportunity to express concerns about how their beloved sport has been turned into a circus of hackneyed, woke, vacuous political grandstanding.

      1. Can you go back to f1 reddit were the rest of the racists are

        1. Can you stop calling everyone a racist? You know, like they do on reddit…

        2. That’s a disgraceful word to use so casually and baselessly.

          1. I’ve watched Lewis’s career since his later Karting days.
            He is a well deserved champ. He strikes me as an averagely normal person if you dismiss his fame and fortune. It is obvious that he is angry. But is it at me? I really hope not.
            If he asked I would probably do anything I could in his cause.
            I would assist anyone, of any race, given any urgent need for help. Indeed I have done so many times, without hesitation.
            I will not however, take a knee for him and I don’t see why anyone must.
            Symbols are often not what they represent. I still rue the fact that my first comprehension of the Swastika had nothing to do with it’s original religious, symbolic meaning.

      2. So in what way has a positive message (communicated before the race) turned the sport of F1 into a circus?

      3. roberto giacometti
        4th August 2020, 5:46

        exactly well said

      4. Exactly and do note that Hamilton has no concrete changes to propose

      5. Hamilton has a nerve even questioning why people have an opinion different from his. He is showing the type of bullying that he showed at school and doing irreparable damage to F1.
        Not that he is the only one with a different T-shirt – his is in support of a violent political movement.
        And what is he asking for? By some magic and because he says so, racism stops? How many non-white people does he or his team employ? Very few. His pit crew? All white and HIS choice.
        There is legislation in all countries against racism and none of the solutions like quotas work (thankfully).
        So what is he asking people to do?
        He is demonstrating a level of ignorance which is surprising and I won’t watch F1 until he either apologizes or retires

    3. I object all those who opinion on what kind of gesture others should do.

      @coldfly Hamilton specifically says: “I’m not going to tell you what my opinion on whether or not everyone needs to or not.” His comment in the interview is on the reasons they gave for not taking a knee. They said they’re worried how the gesture would be perceived in their home countries, he just puts out that other sportspeople, including footballers, from their countries have made the gesture.
      Personally I think those objecting to the knee gesture as subservient have something of a point. I just don’t know who it would be subservient too. In the case of the famous Martin Luther King picture, presumably his god. In the case of Colin Kaepernick, he wanted to protest during the US anthem without offending veterans, so it’s a mixture of protest and deference. People like Dominic Raab (UK politician) who have called it a gesture of subjugation presumably wouldn’t have any issue kneeling to receive a knighthood from his sovereign. That’s why I have issues with the gesture. I wouldn’t kneel to a sovereign or a god. But who is it to in this case? A movement or cause? So I’d definitely be uncomfortable too about making the knee gesture. I’m much more comfortable with the black power salute, standing, raised fist, head lowered. That to me speaks power, pride, but non-aggression (not staring someone down or looking for a target). I’m not saying I wouldn’t compromise, but there is an issue. And you can’t say ‘it’s just a gesture’ but then be upset if that gesture isn’t made.

      1. I think we all (Hamilton, you, and I included) miss the point if we discuss what gestures are better, and if it is a good or bad reason if somebody decides against/for gesture A or B.
        Maybe some decided against crossing their arms because it’s full moon today. We should not judge that decision, and just be happy that they did make some kind of gesture. Or as a smart person above mentioned: “you can’t say ‘it’s just a gesture’ but then be upset if that gesture isn’t made.”
        It’s about an individual making a statement that racism is not okay.

        I deliberatetely did not mentioned Hamilton specifically in my original comment to not be drawn into what he did/didn’t say. He has not explicitly said what others should do, although he ‘challenged’ the reasons of others for not ‘taking a knee’.
        My wording was just as carefull as Hamilton’s quotes, but we all know what we were getting at.

        And maybe it’s a blessing that not all drivers have the same gesture or wear the same t-shirt. This way it will get more attention than a slickly organised PR thingy.

        1. @coldfly I was trying to be careful too because I did notice you didn’t mention Hamilton, however you know how your comment could be read by some (as a criticism of him). I agree, variety of protest is always better, otherwise we all tend to become numbed to the message and it becomes a ‘corporate’ and ‘branding’ thing, the last thing an end racism campaign should be.

        2. Everyone making up their own mind sounds like diversity to me. So not sure why taking a knee is challenged at all.

      2. If I kneel down, it is to pray to my God. Nothing and no man made movement on earth would make me kneel to it.

    4. @coldfly well, yeah, but it depends… It would be great if they all did it, but the reasons some of them not to do it are weird…

      Sainz for instance, I can’t think of any different connotation or meaning in his country or any Spanish speaking country… I live in Spain with my Spanish GF and I consulted people about it and they had no idea why he’d not do it. Other than personal choice, which I think should come after the collective stance…

      They are privileged people able to change the way people think… They should work to show an united stance. If kneeling is something that is done globally, I don’t see why F1 drivers can’t do it.

      1. personal choice, which I think should come after the collective stance…

        That’s the part I disagree with, @fer-no65.
        I strongly believe that ‘personal choice’ is not just more important than ‘collective stance’, it is also more powerfull. It shows really what you stand for, rather to what you conform to.

      2. I´m also from Spain and happy to see he doesn´t kneel. What´s so important about kneeling? Why is it not enough with rooting for equality and take a stance against discrimination? Do they all have to dance to Hamilton´s wishes?
        Like someone pointed out in other comments, some people would have no problem kneeling to the king.
        Well, I would personally not take a knee for the king of any country, same as I wouldn´t take a knee for something which meaning can be totally up for interpretation, to the point that I don´t know why would anyone take a knee as a gesture against racism.
        I also find it ridiculous anyone wants to be doing this in every race, like they expect change to happen in the span of an F1 season. Surely they are free to propose this and maybe even getting away with it, but I can only sympathise with those drivers who don´t want to be dragged into it.

  2. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    3rd August 2020, 12:21

    Taking a knee is a very subservient gesture and it’s not something people feel comfortable doing on demand. So while I promote the open dialogue of knowing people’s reasons are for kneeling or not, I don’t like the fact it’s a ‘challenge for not kneeling’ because in doing so, you’re bullying the people who are maybe not kneeling out of pride into telling them what to do. Which will antagonise the issue further. I really don’t see an issue with the efforts that are currently being made.

    1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      3rd August 2020, 12:25

      And the immediate straw man counter argument before anyone replies with it is ‘So your pride is more important than racism’ which is further antagonising decent people’s freedoms.

      1. It wouldn’t be a strawman to say ‘So your pride is more important than taking a stance against racism’ because that’s literally exactly what your original post said. And it’s insane to think that. Is tying your shoelaces putting yourself in a subservient position just because you’re kneeling? Has anyone ever decided not to tie their shoelace in public out of a matter of personal pride? If they have, then they’re a bit stupid.

        1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
          3rd August 2020, 20:13

          Is this serious?

    2. @rdotquestionmark I suspect the kneeling gesture is linked to Christian (or Judeo-Christian-Islamic) subservience to a single god. It’s also maybe why the whole issue of kneeling or not seems a bit ‘preachy’. There’s a powerful Black Christian tradition that involves resistance to racism, in the US especially. That’s great and I find the music and imagery powerful and inspiring. But there’s a limit for me, since I’m not a believer, and definitely have always resented being expected to comply with Christian ritual.

      1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
        3rd August 2020, 13:53

        Thanks @david-br

        Exactly the sort of dialogue that shows how much further this runs than being as simple as kneel with us or stand and be against us.

      2. I can’t think of a church where a one-knee bow is used. Enlighten me if not. It’s always on two knees in my experience. The one kneed now is more akin to subservience to a temporal power (a monarch for example).

        1. The one-knee bow is used in the Catholic church when you are about to take your seat. It is done in the aisle just before you slide over to your place on the bench. Its called a Genuflection. There are other Christian examples of this but this is just one of them.

        2. What is odd is that one stands for a Monarch but bows a bit.
          Kneeling in the modern world, lets say, to the British Queen, is a traditional pose when receiving a Knighthood.
          It is the only time I am aware of when kneeling is usual.
          Even then just recently, she Knighted Captain Tom while he stood.

      3. I think everyone is overthinking the significance of the kneeling.

        It’s pretty much universally observed that citizens stand for the playing of a national anthem.
        Kaepernick was obviously aware of this and remained seated the first time he protested (choosing to kneel thereafter) as a gesture that was calculated to be visibly different to standing.
        He did it solemnly – he wasn’t singing/whistling/conductiing/gurning/chewing gum – just making sure that it was obvious he had chosen not to stand and conform in the way he expressed his own respect for his country’s anthem.
        It’s entirely likely he was also confident that it would be an unbearable bur in the underpants of his unsympathetic new President and would trigger an irate twitter response that the media would fall upon and thus draw attention to the reason for which the gesture was being made.

        Hamilton needs to be careful because there is a real danger that his oblique criticisms and thinly disguised irritation towards his non-kneeling fellow drivers is becoming the story and could unintentionally eclipse the reason that they are all gathering at the start of a Grand Prix for.

    3. There is an important (albeit recent) history associated with kneeling.

      NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during the US anthem whilst other players stood. He did so to protest racism and it has become the defining image of the anti-racism movement. Doing so all but destroyed Kaepernick’s career.

      Can’t you see that by choosing to stand these drivers are reversing what Kaepernick did? Even if they don’t mean it they appear to be protesting against the protest.

      Personally I struggle with drivers that refuse to kneel. Even if they’re concerned by how it might be perceived at home, aren’t they more concerned by racism generally? And, with respect, most of them live in Monaco anyway so why the hell should the opinions of those at “home” bother them!

      1. @sonnycrockett I think it’s worth pointing out that football (US and real football varieties :)) is used to having players kneel, including for team photos with the front line kneeling and the back line standing. So kneeling for footballers is a team, collective gesture and isn’t associated with subservience. Kaepernick was being defiant, refusing to stand for the US anthem. So his gesture seemed much more like the black power salute (also made famous during the US anthem at the Olympics, though Tommie Smith, one of the African American athletes, said it was a ‘human rights salute’). Martin Luther King kneeling, on the other hand, looks much more like religious deference. So it’s a question of context. And if that’s the case, then you can’t say that refusing to kneel undoes Kaepernick’s gesture. The refusal, or noncompliance, is also contextual. If they’re wearing ‘end racism’ t-shirts, how can you claim they’re not concerned about racism?

      2. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
        3rd August 2020, 14:11

        Yes and Kaepernick was kneeling as a powerful act of defiance against police brutality in the US. Kaepernick was offered a number of contracts in the NFL but it all got too messy and he didn’t turn up to arranged meetings etc.

        So are we kneeling out of defiance to American police brutality, national anthems, is it just a symbolic gesture of support, is it subservience. It’s a minefield and you can see how lost in it all people get. Not to mention what taking a knee stands for historically (see David’s quote above).

        I can’t honestly say what I would do if I was on that grid. But I would like to feel like it was my free choice whatever way.

        If you flip the question. Are there other causes you would ‘kneel’ for. Women’s rights, the fight against cancer, whatever you want to use theoretically. Would it be such a minefield? If everyone was kneeling at the start of the race for the fight against cancer would some people stand? It’s a tough one.

        1. Yes, I would kneel for them all.

          Next question…

          1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
            3rd August 2020, 14:18

            My point was, that I think everyone would be kneeling for those other causes. As they aren’t as inflammatory. Which maybe says a lot about mindsets.

      3. GtisBetter (@)
        3rd August 2020, 20:39

        I don’t know if you have seen him play, but is was not that great. Sure, he is still better then some of the backups out there right now, but he was asking for QB1 money and there were not a lot of teams interested in parting with a lot of money and having a lot of distractions for an average QB. He is just another Tim Tebow.

      4. Do I assume you’ve now got bloody, dirty knees having supported an American footballer, every time you undertook a new part of your work?
        The knee thing represents supporting a Footballer, according to you. At least in part of what you wrote.
        Now imagine the millions of differing interpretations of those that do it to order. What are their motivations?

    4. @rdotquestionmark yes that’s exactly it, and expecially now Hamilton is pushing them all to do it. No one wants to be anybody”s bitch.

      They should counter that Hamilton should wear the same t-shirt if it’s so important for all to do the same and if it’s really about racism and not just black lives.

    5. Perfectly said

  3. > “they’re all doing it united”

    Keeps using a different shirt than the official one.

    1. Srikanth Iyer
      3rd August 2020, 12:34

      yea well, blacklivesmatter was the clarion call. i don’t know why the formula 1 felt the need to make a new one of their own.

    2. My thoughts exactly… Why not wear a “End Racism” shirt to promote unity?

      1. He does, its on his back, and he carries ‘end racism’ on the car.
        Find it odd (not aimed at you) that a number posters who feel strongly about him wearing a different t shirt, defend others for doing something different other than taking a knee.

        1. Perhaps it’s because Lewis wants all drivers to carry out the same equal gesture by kneeling but he doesn’t wear the same t shirt and message. Besides, F1’s anti racism messages are “End Racism” and “#WeRaceAsOne”. Lewis wearing “Black Lives Matter” is his own agenda.

    3. That’s just false equivalence on your part and a very poor argument, frankly.

      1. Is it?
        He states unity is essential. So act like it or respect every expression from people that support the cause.

      2. kevin citron
        3rd August 2020, 20:31

        everything is a poor argument if the facts don’t fit your agenda, right?

  4. Maybe Lewis can vacate the Mercedes seat for the sake of diversity in racing.

    1. Srikanth Iyer
      3rd August 2020, 12:34

      if he vacates his seat it will REDUCE diversity.

    2. @Jay
      Or maybe other teams can have quotas on hiring a more ethnically diverse driver lineup (not that I agree with quotas) but just addressing your silly argument.

  5. F1oSaurus (@)
    3rd August 2020, 12:25

    Who decided that taking the knee was the only viable option to take a stand (!) against racism?

    All this complaining about the few who refuse to do this just detracts from his message anyway. Focusing on the positive would get him a lot further with this.

    1. @f1osaurus I agree totally. I don’t know if this issue about who is kneeling or not is partly media driven. But if it’s Hamilton, your point is entirely valid, focus on the fact all the drivers are there and expressing support for the issue to end racism.

    2. Formula 1 is overwhelmingly a white, middle class sport. You only have to look at the sponsors to see that.

      The most successful driver currently is a person of colour. That gives him and the sport the perfect platform to denounce racism and (hey, growth opportunity) increase the appeal of F1 to demographics that have not traditionally followed it.

      My message to the drivers is this: You are all wealthy men living in some of the most beautiful and exotic places in the world. Get down on one knee and show the sort of unity that is being shown in other sports. It is good for the sport and will become the defining image of the era.

      Documentaries will be made about this period of time in the not so distant future. F1 drivers choosing not to kneel for “personal reasons” is not a good optic, will reflect badly on the sport and is something that will be viewed very negatively in years to come…

      1. I would say F1 is a rich kid (1%) sport including Hamilton.

        1. I meant the fans. I know that there are always exceptions but F1 is white, middle class (and upwards). The cost of a ticket go some way to proving this.

          I’m also a big MotoGP fan and have been to various circuits to watch both sports. The difference in the fans between the two is absolutely huge.

      2. F1 drivers choosing not to kneel for “personal reasons” is not a good optic, will reflect badly on the sport

        Utter nonsense.
        Every “act” against any cause is personal by definition.
        If not its just pr talk and worthless.
        Accept that diversity is also the right of showing your opinions on a self chosen way.

      3. F1oSaurus (@)
        3rd August 2020, 18:11

        @sonnycrockett I think Hamilton choosing conflict instead of focusing on the positive is exactly the wrong thing to do. I’m behind his message, but he’s losing me with the bullying.

        Besides, as you explained the demographics are the main reason for the demographics in F1 and not race.

      4. Completely agree with this. The 1968 black power salute comes to mind – now seen as a defining moment in sport. We should look back positively on all thats going on right now in F1, however I fear that in the future, those choosing to stand will instead be seen as opposed to the movement.

  6. Just let it go already. Focus on the racing, not all of these secondary things.

    1. Thats the problem. The title is already secured so plenty of spare time

    2. Funny, people have been telling Ham for a decade that his problem is not focusing enough on his racing. You would think he would have listen to them by now.

  7. The message was definitely a lot clearer and appropriately presented this past weekend.

    I personally have no issue with who does or doesn’t “take a knee”, actions speak louder than words and in this case the gesture achieves nothing…I note a few American sports stars are also now not taking a knee and their message is “that’s ok”…and why shouldn’t it be if they are all there representing the same message but in a manner that respects their individual cultures and beliefs, surely communicating the message in a way that is respected or understood by your home nation is far more effectively than doing so in a manner another culture insists on?

    Some examples below of the discussion in American sports now (if links are allowed by mods):

    1. Using Israel Folau of all people as an example of why people shouldn’t take a knee probably isn’t the smartest idea given his horrific past of intolerance on various topics.

      1. “Horrific”. Interesting how 30 years ago with the AIDS crisis homosexuality was frequently described as horrific. Now if someone like Israel doesn’t agree with homosexuality and support homosexual behavior they are described as “horrific”.

        1. not supporting something which just is and which by itself does not harm others might not be horriffic but only when it is out of ignorance, or perhaps stupidity.

      2. “horrific”?

        Hyperbole much?

  8. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    3rd August 2020, 12:41

    Lewis start to behave more and more as a bully and small child – any positive from his initial call for attention has completely gone by now.

    I disagree with Lewis that racism is widespread within F1 – there are far bigger problems in the world of F1 than racism yet due to Lewis there is only focus on this single problem which isn’t a F1 problem to begin with.

    1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      3rd August 2020, 12:44

      An example of a bigger problem is that not always the best drivers are in F1 and feeder series, how deep their (sponsor) pockets are is sadly often more important than pure driving skill so to that extend there is far more discrimination in F1 based on money than based on skin colour or ethnicity.

      1. There’s some interesting research out there into the relationship between things like racism and classism, and how interlinked they are. I do think it is worth looking at them together, because many of the root causes (and potential solutions) are likely the same.

        I don’t think it needs to be an either or discussion, nor do I think it has to be framed as “there is a bigger problem than racism out there”. I do think that purely focusing on racism isn’t necessarily the best way to change things for the better though.

    2. Not sure where Ham has indicated that racism is widespread in F1? Nor why you think that this action; similar to other sports and sports broadcasters, is due to Ham?

    3. @jelle-van-dermeer, have you ever experienced racism in any form.

    4. British drivers have far more opportunities to get into F1 than any other nationality. British engineers have far more opportunities for getting into F1 than anyone else.

      That’s the only discrimination in F1.

  9. Then “come together” Lewis and wear the same shirt as all the other drivers.

  10. tony mansell
    3rd August 2020, 12:46

    Here we go again. A comments page for ‘ im not racist but’ heads.

    1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      3rd August 2020, 12:53

      I don’t even think race has come up once.

      1. If any this is the ideal forum to talk about Race. How did we like the last Race?

        1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
          3rd August 2020, 15:33

          Think you’ve got the wrong forum sorry @maxv

          Was this some sort of car race that happened at the weekend?

          1. @rdotquestionmark

            Be careful we can’t openly talk here, some car lives matter folks might take offense

    2. Paddy Down Under
      3rd August 2020, 12:56

      I don’t see where anyone here has needed to justify their opinions. Reasons are a wonderful thing.

    3. abananasplitz
      3rd August 2020, 13:05

      Hi tony! nice to see a bigot here!

      1. tony mansell
        3rd August 2020, 13:25

        Yes im a bigot for calling out people like you. Makes me think its not your fault, intellectual ability should be factored in before criticism of actual bigots and bigotry. I am sorry to you and for you.

  11. Now I understand why Bernie wasn’t keen with this “social things”…

  12. In terms of visuals, I actually think the current combination of kneeling and standing is much better: front row is kneeling, back row is standing, and it looks great in photos and on television.

  13. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    3rd August 2020, 12:54

    I thought he said he wouldn’t make anyone do it if they didn’t want to? Also the FIA gave the drivers the choice to demonstrate as they chose – whether to take a knee, to stand respectfully or do what they felt appropriate. You can’t give people a choice or say you’re okay with them making such a choice and then complain when they didn’t do what you wanted them to do. This is just becoming more about pointing fingers at who takes a knee and who doesn’t and the message and its intention are being lost – and that’s without taking into account that ‘taking a knee’ is doing absolutely nothing to ‘end racism’. Especially from a platform like F1 that can do so much and is doing so little.

    1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      3rd August 2020, 12:56

      It’s no wonder why race, religion, sexuality and politics are always used to divide the people. Light the touch paper and watch everyone attack each other.

      1. Absolutely. Wake up folks, you’re being used by the mainstream media. If you actually look at facts, the motivation behind the death of George floyd wasn’t even proven to be racism. It’s much more police brutality

        1. Adam (@rocketpanda)
          3rd August 2020, 14:01

          Oh hang on, ending racism’s a great thing to do. Floyd’s death was preventable, unnecessary and needlessly violent – no matter its intention. I totally agree with Hamilton’s concept of pushing F1 to be a force to promote diversity, equality and ending institutional racism, but I question his methods. You don’t end racism by kneeling, nor do you do it by enforcing others to do something that for whatever reason they don’t wish to. F1 – and Hamilton – have a myriad of resources available to them, TV and media coverage and an incalculable level of wealth. They CAN do a lot for this ‘we race as one’ movement and ending racism but insisting people kneel before a Grand Prix is doing absolutely nothing but sowing division.

    2. The drivers can come to their own decision as to whether or not they can take a knee. And Hamilton and others can criticise them for not doing it. With what some people are saying you’d think he’s literally grabbing them and forcing them to kneel every time.

      1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
        3rd August 2020, 20:14

        It’s the insinuation that if you’re not kneeling you’re racist or not anti-racism that’s ruffling feathers.

        1. well , not kneeling but doing something else just as powerful,or more effective, might help.are any of those not kneeling doing that? not as far as I can see.

          1. They support the cause.. that should be enough.

  14. Perhaps Lewis is getting ahead of himself a little bit. His intentions are extremely honorable. He wants to be the one leading the change in the sport–again, highly commendable. What he is also asking for, is unity with the approach that the stakeholders take towards the issue. I don’t think its wrong–a unanimous and united show of support and strength, even symbolically like a taking a knee, would certainly have a greater impact than otherwise.
    It is good to have a message that’s strong and clear rather than one that invites unnecessary questions such as “why is driver A not taking a knee while driver B is?”. Maybe Lewis thinks such distractions are to be done away with in favor of a focused resolve towards the issue–ending racism.

    1. Maybe he should lead more, rather than asking others to setup commissions.

      I thought he wanted to do a race in Africa? Did he fund it yet?

      1. Yes, like you I can’t get my head round why he would fund the Royal Academy of Engineers to look at STEM issues and not do it himself. And no he didnt pay for a race in Africa; he helps fund schools in Africa instead. Seems he’s more interested in the well-being of disadvantaged children, rather than building a track and paying Liberty to hold a race there.

    2. Aw! Oh! Here we go again!

  15. Well done Lewis – good job that you are pushing on this. Bored of him & Merc winning races, but I applaud his stance on this, and on for his position on Veganism.

    Its easy to to be critical, but I think its great to see sports stars using their celebrity to try and make the world a better place. What exactly are standing drivers doing to make the world better?

    1. abananasplitz
      3rd August 2020, 13:07

      What exactly are kneeling drivers doing to make the world better? answer is the same NOTHING.

      1. See below…

    2. Completely agree.

      Those that suggest this will achieve nothing possibly wish for that to be the outcome too.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        3rd August 2020, 17:14

        Kneeling in itself is good and spreads awareness. People should see drivers kneeling and it should create discussion around racisim and equality. Arguing about who is kneeling and who is not stops that conversation in it’s tracks and turns it into something trivial.

        We should be talking about the important things – people’s stories who have faced racism, ways to battle racism, ways to achieve more diversity…. Lewis should use his position to educate – all I hear from him is criticism of others which isn’t teaching anyone anything.

      2. @sonnycrockett

        It’s unsurprising that those who believe in the magical power of rituals and thus have no concern over scientifically proven efficacy, think that those who worry about efficacy, have ill intent.

        It’s bloody irritating for those who don’t share that outlook, though.

  16. Lewis keep fighting the good fight, let the people with hate in their hearts stay in the past were they belong

    1. Dude, 90% of your posts are hate

  17. Guilt tripping drivers into kneeling is almost implying that there are racists if they don’t.

    And that F1 is somehow a hotbed of racism, (something I’ve never seen in over 30 years) on the contrary its actually been a multicultural diverse environment where skill and ability has meant everything.

    I’ve never judged someone on the colour of their skin but by their actions and character and suspect the same applies to the majority of drivers and personnel in F1.

    Kneeling or bowing is a sign of servitude and weakness, F1 should have made a strong statement of drivers proudly standing shoulder to shoulder.

    1. Fred, I think you’ve summed up how I feel about this.

      Furthermore Hamilton promotes BLM, a terrible example to youth and he is bullying his fellow drivers, just great eh? If he’s serious about the issue that led to all this, the Atlantic slave trade, then he should be quizzing his own employers about their role before and during WW2 supporting the Nazi regime and using slaves in their factories. Daimler Benz paid but a pittance to the survivors of this dark period in their history, Hamilton should start pointing his finger at those way closer to home.

      That of course wouldn’t be good for his career, he’s is fast becoming the kind of person that he says he is protesting against.

  18. Chris Horton
    3rd August 2020, 13:28

    Hamilton needs to understand that other people are allowed to decide on what action they take as individuals.

    There is a united front against racism, but when he says ‘educating each other’ he really means ‘do what I want them to do’.

    It’s incredibly irritating. As if he wasn’t already irritating enough.

    There is no place for racism in the world, it’s disgusting. I have never kneeled to express this however.

  19. Gestures are meaningless when the heart is not sincere.
    Likewise, the lack of a gesture doesn’t automatically imply an insincere heart.

    1. Thank you, Yoda.

  20. So this is the same Hamilton who said he wasn’t pushing or bullying other drivers to make this political gesture (although his Instagram account showed he was) and here he is pushing and shoving again.

    I would like an unequivocal statement form Hamilton that he is not following other race activists in believing racialism is only when white people discriminate against black purely on racial grounds. That is the line of some parts of the Black Power movement and why they describe black racial prejudice as ‘reverse racisim’.

    I support the effort against racism covering all forms from any quarter, creed or race, but not that perverted definition which is, in effect, a racist attack on white people, using a moral value to attack or denigrate one race or group.

    1. He has made that statement. He supports the BLM movement, not the BLM organisation or its politics. Same as Sky Sports, C4 and others who display the BLM ‘button’.

      1. So he supports BLM movement and allows the hate of everybody else? In US alone every fraction hates another with valid an invalid reasons. Now, they are supporting only one fraction because its “the thing” in this moment. I believe only in one thing: Lives of fair and honest working people matter, no matter of their color. What we are seeing now is just bullying of the entire world and trying to rise a certain race above others…something we allready saw 8 decades ago.

  21. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    3rd August 2020, 13:46

    If the drivers not kneeling suddenly all take a knee next race my first thought will be they’re taking a knee because Lewis has been calling them out to do so, not because they want to. You can’t force someone to do something they don’t want to do, I don’t understand why he’s so adamant about getting the standers to drop a knee. It’s making Lewis look extremely entitled.

    1. @canadianjosh Entitled, I don’t think so. Insistence, yes, but then racism isn’t going to end any time soon, so I admire the fact he’s insisting on keeping the issue to the forefront of the F1 ceremony (after all, we have to deal with all the nationalism at every race with the pre-race host anthem and the end of race driver and constructor anthems). I just think focusing on the non-kneelers is negative and counterproductive because its critical of people who are there showing support. That makes little sense.

    2. good luck making Kimi do it. Only pressure by Alfa will work.

      1. Josh (@canadianjosh)
        3rd August 2020, 17:17

        Alfa wouldn’t be able to make him kneel, I’m sure he would say a four letter word followed by off if they asked him.

    1. Yes, F1 should learn from Russia Today, hahahaha.
      Really dude, what’s next: Sochi is the greatest track on the calendar?

      Meanwhile, the North Korean State Media declared Kim Ill jong the greatest leader ever…….

  22. When what is valued is the form and not the content. We’re talking.
    Apparently, anti-racism is only valid when according to the understanding of the “true” anti-racists ??

  23. If Mercedes had other cars challenging them I don’t think Hamilton would be worrying about who “takes a knee” and who doesn’t.

    They’re all wearing “End Racism” t-shirts. Surely that’s enough for Hamilton to accept they aren’t racists (not that they have to explain themselves to Hamilton).

    The irony in all of this is if Hamilton wasn’t British he would never have had all these opportunities in junior formulas to progress through to F1. Hamilton couldn’t have been more lucky in being born British and growing up in Britain.

  24. I dont think Hamilton has said anything unreasonable here, and I say that as someone who not a big fan of his activism in various topics.

    1. Get ready for the triggered racists to start screaming at you

      1. Carlos – first time I read this blog but you don’t seem to contribute much other than insults – direct or implied.

  25. End racism campaign goes in all ways. Something Lewis, and BLM activists fail to see and acknowlidge….

  26. F1TV Pro subscription cancelled – Lewis is 100pct right in his quest for justice but this has all become counterproductive now…
    This PR dementia needs to take a new direction.
    Done with F1 – this media/marketing circus is no longer worth 5′ of my time. So long.

    1. Says the poster who registered a month ago and has only ever posted about this issue. Numpty

  27. I’m sick of Hamilton calling the Formula 1 fans “racists”. He is messaging to us. If he isn’t calling us racists, then I’d like him to point out exactly who he is talking about, and the racist policies that exist in the world that he is against. We’d all be on board fighting actual racist policies if he were to point them out, but he never does. It’s called virtue signaling and that’s all he is doing.

    1. Im shocked. Have you got a link where he called F1 fans racist?

      So let me understand this. Hamilton has been working, supporting and funding issues that seek to help those who are disadvantaged for the last decade, including the poor, the sick, the homeless, those at inner city schools etc. which invariably have a disproportionate amount of blacks and other races. Many of these are as a representative of high profile charities and causes, such as UN Ambassador for Education and Children. Many of these acts make the press because of the name Hamilton. Yet for some reason you haven’t even done a simple internet search on these matters, but instead you’ve just thrown out a ‘virtue signal’ comment.
      A simple search on here through the appropriate articles before you commented would reveal what you ‘seem’ to be seeking. Or you could keep yourself up to date with the Hamilton Commission if you are that interested.
      ‘Lewis is fiercely committed to help youths unleash their potential, wherever it lies and no matter their background-to help them embrace their difference.’ Royal Academy of Engineers.
      For wider issues try UN Global Goal 10 Inequalities which cover the subject you seek guidance on.

      1. There is a huge difference between helping the underprivileged, and claiming the UK and America is full of racist policies (which is exactly the message of his BLM shirt). What policy of racism does he want changed. If he can point to one, the world will be on his side. Otherwise he’s fighting the imaginary ghosts of institutional and systemic racism. But he sure looks virtuous claiming it does, and he’s against it.

        1. No you have me there, I don’t see any message other than BLM on his shirt. The same as I dont see any message next to the BLM displayed by C4, Skysports, other sports, businesses, political parties, church congregations, social groups, etc.
          Although I think we are all getting fed up with all these groups, and Hamilton, repeatedly stating that they support the cause not the organisation. But then, theirs still a few who don’t seem to be able to grasp that simple sentiment. Or they wish to hide behind their faux ignorance.

  28. As a Black man and an F1 fan for over 20 years i am proud that Lewis is pushing this agenda. When he retires we will probably have another lifetime without a black driver. However the majority comments on here are quite disturbing, the profound lack of understand and ignorance of racism is incredible.

    Taking the knee is not a political gesture, its a sign of respect, very much like wearing face masks in a shop now, many people do and many people dont. The people who do wear masks are simply showing a sign of respect to others around them… and that is what taking the knee is, its a sign of respect.

    Which many of you here seem to lack for the black race

    1. Josh (@canadianjosh)
      3rd August 2020, 17:20

      I agree and respect what you said but let me ask you this, is it disrespectful not to take a knee in your eyes or should drivers decide for themselves should they take a knee.

    2. @captainap
      This the great thing about diversity: as a black man and a follower of F1 since 1997 I completely disagree with Hamilton’s approach.

      A few commenters above mentioned that they didn’t think Hamilton was implying that F1 itself is racist (due to a lack of black drivers) but you imply that this to be the case, correct me if I’m wrong. If I understand you correctly, well, show me the evidence? Pointing to a disparity, even one that appears extreme, is not enough to prove the presence of discrimination. There are so many other factors involved, not least of which is that fewer black people have an interest in the sport, speaking from my personal experience. I’ve also met very few Chinese who were interested in cricket, but many who are interested in snooker. These cultural differences exist but it’s become almost impossible to say these sorts of things in the current climate. This is one of the reasons I disagree with Hamilton’s approach, as I believe its making people or even more scared about voicing honest opinions.

      I don’t even understand what ‘end racism’ is supposed to mean. Of course we all want these things but it’s not clear exactly what this is meant to address. Is it meant to address diversity in F1, or is it a rallying cry against all bigotry in the world, or is it against police brutality? Is it specifically against white on black racism (which is implied by the specific adoption of BLM) or is it against all forms of bigotry, including the sort against whites, jews, uighurs and/or every single religious/ethnic/gender group. Is it designed to spotlight historic injustices such as one particular form of slavery, or does it recognise that no race has a monopoly on victimhood or barbarism?

      Racism is a human problem and will not simply vanish by declaring it at an end. Root causes need to be looked but it all starts with correctly identifying the problem, and what problem.

      I live in the world of data and, though I have experienced racism in my life, I’ve also witnessed breathtaking racism in the other direction. When pressed, Hamilton offers nothing of substance, but instead we get vague platitudes about “the fight for equal rights”. He also never talks about exactly what rights the other drivers on the grid enjoy that he does not. Given his track-record of making pronouncements on ‘in vogue’ issues, I do not think he has looked into the matter seriously at all, but is leveraging his position as the only black driver to go at the issue from an angle of his choosing as he knows he will remain unchallenged. What I am not saying is that I doubt his sincerity, because I do believe his heart is in the right place on these matters.

      The narrative that I find missing is that many black people do not support BLM – and have valid reasons for doing so – because there is a huge diversity of opinion within groups, whereas people tend to always looks at differences between groups.

      Your remark that “many of you on here seem to lack respect for the black race” is a good example of you either looking for racism where it may not exist, or your indulging in some sort of victimhood fantasy, or both. Racefans is not that kind of place as far as I can tell, and like many, I do wish we’d have a little bit more on track action to talk about.

      1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
        3rd August 2020, 23:06

        Really enjoyed this one.

      2. Excellent post, really on point

        1. jeansilva02
          4th August 2020, 3:14

          That was great stuff indeed

      3. Brilliant post mate. Many thanks for this.

    3. Racism is not the one way street from white to black as Hamilton and you imply. Would Hamilton go ballistic if a Chinese guy was insulted by a Japanese woman? No way, but it is racist all the same. Has he seen how white people are treated in some parts of the world? Maybe but this isn’t racism is it…
      He is hypocritical in the extreme

  29. Screw the racists

    1. Josh (@canadianjosh)
      3rd August 2020, 17:21

      Man, racism is terrible and so are your comments. Part of the issue is people like you PAINTING people as racists.

      1. What bit of screw the racists is terrible? I think anyone who is not a racist would think ‘screw the racists’. Inelegant maybe, but not terrible surely. Not like they said screw YOU racists.

        1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
          3rd August 2020, 20:17

          I think it’s because he’s put nothing useful in any comments. No sensible dialogue and no contribution to educating. Just accusing everyone of being racist hysterically. Forums like these are useful for meaningful dialogue and I’ve seen a few posts that have made me think differently. But not from comments like Carlos.

          1. Fair enough. No argument with that.

          2. Yes Carlos, very insightful stuff, I think all of us here can agree on that.

        2. @riptide, it’s not the remark.. its about the person making it. He is placing a racist stamp on every occasion.

          1. True. The large majority of people on this planet don’t give a crap about race or skin colour. These silly flourishes are trying to cause issues where there are none and ultimately actually inventing racism.

  30. The reality is that no matter what happens, someone will be unhappy so if I was Lewis I would just keep doing what I think is right. No point in trying to refine his approach to get 100% acceptance as will be impossible without massively confusing the message. Equally if other drivers are just doing what they feel is right and their intentions are sincere then live-and-let-live.

    If Lewis was looking to maximise the publicity of this he would do well to remember the old adage of “there is no such thing as bad publicity” and ride and harness the wave of all the extra discussion to drive the conversation.

    In my view the differing stances of the drivers is actually making this a more debated topic and more headlines are being generated compared to if there was a completely unified kneeling approach. I now only see articles about why people aren’t doing it rather than the other way around.

  31. I guess in a sport where races are one sided borefests this is all there is to talk about.
    Sad, as for Lewis, he has the bully pulpit, F1 needs him more than he needs F1, go for it mate, Respect.

  32. petebaldwin (@)
    3rd August 2020, 17:03

    Ok enough’s enough now Lewis. I’ve supported you, BLM and “End Racism” the whole way through this and will continue to but this isn’t about who is kneeling down and who isn’t. I’ve heard nothing about diversity, racism or ways to improve the situation and am only ever hearing about kneeling.

    You have a great position to educate people and improve the world but honestly, you’re failing. This whole thing around kneeling has crowded out any discussion about racism or diversity.

    If everyone kneels down the what changes? Lewis feels more supported by his peers? Is that the real end goal of all of this? Diversity certainly won’t reduce because a couple of drivers taking a knee.

    1. How about him hiring a diverse pit crew. Note the pilot of his private plane was white..

  33. Is it too much to ask to separate sports and politics?

    It’s tiring to read about social issues when the reason I follow sports is to escape the constant political bickering. F1 websites should just stop reporting this.

    1. I think you have been following the wrong sport if you want it to be free of politics. This is F1

    2. @paeschli Yes. Sports and politics have been intertwined since at least the 19th century, and only weren’t before that because working-class and political-class people tended to play different sports before that point (the latter got politicised, the former didn’t).

  34. RocketTankski
    3rd August 2020, 17:35

    Merc could replace Toto with Monisha Kaltenborn to help increase diversity?

  35. kevin citron
    3rd August 2020, 18:08

    here comes the bullying

  36. If everyone was kneeling, Hamilton would still manage to find another way to stand out in this matter.

    1. What’s next? Drivers mock noosing themselves? Tar and feathers?

  37. NO ONE should ever be forced to kneel. To decide that kneeling means you believe in a certain thing is crazy. This is like a cult. I don’t want to be a part of a cult. I will not kneel even if you kill me. If you want people to behave in a certain way and not be allowed to do certain things then you make laws in a proper way. You don’t hold some witch hunt where making the wrong gesture or sound means you are a pariah. I cannot imagine anything scarier than all the people on the planet kneeling at the same time. That would mean there is no more choice. No more diversity only conformity.

  38. Maybe the sorting hat showed us today, what universe we really live in. I expected it from Antonio, Daniil, and Kimi. I had my concerns for Carlos and Max. But Charles Leclerc? I feel disappointed he chose to stand and demonstrate to us this axis of his opinion.

    1. If I was on the team I wouldn’t kneel either. If asked why I would say that I’m not a racist, nor is the team or anyone on it. I’m not going to kneel because it’s symbolic of asking forgiveness for something myself or my team has never been a part of. Would that include me in the axis?

      1. afhkrjfhrkf
        5th August 2020, 0:24

        And when someone patiently explained to you that it’s symbolic not of asking forgiveness but of opposition to discrimination and solidarity with its victims, then what? Make up another equally vacuous excuse and convince yourself that you’re fooling anyone?

  39. Everyone doing the same thing, looking the same way, demonstrating in the exact maner, doen’t make the other point of diversity. Uniformity isn’t diversity. Respecting the opinions and rights of others is diversity.

    You can all agree on the goal whilst finding different ways to get there. That’s diversity.

    This insistence on uniformity, would simply replace one kind of uniformity for another, as another kind of habit which was without thought. I think much of this debate has been media inspired. Its about the imagine, before its about the substance of thought.

    So much of our age is about the meme, the popular image, the borrowed image, the subliminal image, the gesture, yet i have to wonder if there is any room for actual thought.

    I don’t think anyone should be forced into anything. It means nothing if its forced. Let each protests in his
    own way. Standing, sitting, kneeling, silent or vocal. Its the multipicity of expressions which defines diversity, not this unthinking demand for uniformity.

  40. Lewis Hamilton is really ahead of his time. Just like Colin Kaepernick. Legend.

    1. CK was a rubbish athlete who jumped on a bandwagon for attention.

  41. I hope other drivers get anoyed by Lewis political distractions and bring us a closer fight on track. It seems quite annoying, the lack of result diversity that is.

  42. MB (@muralibhats)
    4th August 2020, 3:34

    So the world has only black and white people and diversity needed is also between two. How ignorant.

    TBH… the whole BLM is a joke lately. its more a show off than anything. RIP all people who fought for the rights of these people for very less recognition. Now its all about social media.

    1. I can’t remember the black celebrity that hated the message Black Lives Matter because he thought it pitted blacks against every other race, and that creates too many negative reactions from all races. He said the the phrase itself was racial (obviously).

  43. I just don’t see how 10 or 20 blokes going down on one knee for a given period of time is going to achieve anything. Maybe if a million people did it together it would send a message but 10 blokes? I hope that one day racism becomes extinct but taking a knee probably won’t be the driver of change. Just my opinion.

  44. As a black man, I’m beyond tired of hearing about Lewis’ crusade to get all drivers to kneel before a race. People are free to express themselves in whatever manner suits them. So to criticize/pressure/bully a driver for not kneeling, as if that automatically makes them some kind of closet racist, is ridiculous. Suppose everyone did kneel together. Then what? Everything’s fixed? Racism solved? Nope. Didn’t think so. Honestly, this all just seems like PR for Lewis and nothing about him feels authentic. He’s just become F1’s king of virtue signaling and making the focus about “hey everybody, look at these guys that won’t kneel with me, they must be hiding something”. Instead, he should be focusing on making his “Hamilton Commission” (had to name it after yourself huh?) an actual platform for objective, tangible change. Rather than telling people to get behind you, do something people want to get behind.

    1. Dan, thanks for this part of your comment:
      “hey everybody, look at these guys that won’t kneel with me, they must be hiding something”
      I’ve never heard that stated before and it’s a sentiment not registered in my mind until I read it. But there is a huge amount of “how did I miss that” moment to it.

    2. Very sound and astute comment

  45. I support Lewis as a driver. But I would not take a knee, sorry but no. I also don’t support BLM the organsation, they need to be clear when they say BLM what exactly are they meaning, the general term, which yeah, everyones lives matter so no deal. Or the organisation, then no way am I supporting that.

  46. The big question is: why he took so much years to do this? Is he another puppet or sheep following what others do? Why he didn’t promote the end of racism from the first year he was in f1? Why he’s doing now, following other sports, just being a follower to gain popularity? Sorry but i don’t buy it. End of racism campaigns it’s been done years and years by other people, so stop pretending you are the pioneer in something, or that you are the boss of f1 because you win the championships with a superior car!
    He has a very arrogant attitude, and he hasn’t been part of a f1 group in all his sporting career, so now don’t come like you are the boss, and that you want to unite all drivers in doing what you want, when you hasn’t collaborated or sozialized with your partners in all this years…
    Appart from that… why is he wearing a special tshirt, while the others are using the normal and generalized message, which isn’t a partial campaign like black live matters which fights for black righs in the USA.
    If you want a gesture it should be a general gesture for all countries without discrimination.

  47. Why politics and not racing. All sports are being ruined by all this political talk. F1 is way too boring and predictable. How about this. Give the last place team the most $ at the end of the year and #1 the least. Get back to V 8’s non turbo. The team that spends the most in the off season get the most practice and vise versa.

  48. DroneNovice
    5th August 2020, 1:05

    Totally agree with you @GtisBetter and that is the context of what taking the knee today is representing purely as peaceful gesture to show that you support the call to end systemic racism that exists in our society. Trying to detract from that meaning in this context especially where the commentary also qualifies the reference to its meaning – but to deflect from that meaning by associating with other meanings of say religious or subservient connotations means that those with counter arguments have not grasped what this worldwide movement is about polarised more by the death of George Floyd where previously to make the point on racism was not being understood for which non-blacks could or would not relate to and therefore DO NOT understood the plight that black people have to endure on a daily basis whether that be at the hands of other racists or being disproportionately racial profiled by the police which can lead to unprovoked brutality which for the majority of white people would not be subjected to or even have to think about – shows that the message is being lost or blissfully being ignored has you’re not the ones being affected and if we choose to try and understand this then time to properly educate ourselves on the subject matter then you might have a better learned perspective.

  49. the guys standing have character, all I see.

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