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Hamilton rules out Belgium Grand Prix boycott

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Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton
Omnisport
NEWS
Modified 27 Aug 2020, 23:34 IST
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Reigning Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton has ruled out boycotting the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend.

Games in the NBA, WNBA, MLB and MLS have been postponed in protest against racial injustice and police brutality following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Some NFL teams cancelled planned activities, while the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament pushed back all of Thursday's matches amid the demonstrations across the United States.

Blake was shot in the back several times – footage of which was shared widely on social media – and his family said he has been left paralysed from the waist down.

Hamilton, F1's only black driver, has been at the forefront of the series' anti-racism movement this season and backed the stance being taken by major US sports teams and players.

However, he ruled out the possibility of him following suit and skipping this weekend's race at Spa.

"It's incredible what many out there in the States are doing within their sports, all the way down to the people who are hosting," said Mercedes driver Hamilton.

"So many people are standing with the players and really pushing for change. It is a shame that is what's needed over there in order to get a reaction.

"But that is in America and I don't know really if me doing anything here will particularly have any effect. We are in Belgium, not in the States.

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"I haven't spoken to anyone about it, but I am really proud of so many out there and I do stand unified with them.

"I don't really know how us not doing the race is a thing. But I will try and speak to F1 to see what else we can do to continue to raise awareness and help push.

"And as a sport we all need to be aligned and supporting one another, even though it is a different sport."

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel confirmed all 20 drivers will continue to protest against racism prior to races this season.

Vettel said: "We sent a strong message after the first event and our feeling was very clear that we wanted to continue sending that message. It is one of those things that does not go away overnight.

"How long will we continue? There is no answer to that. It is important to keep sending the message and that's what we will continue to do.

"We know it does not change things overnight and it is only a very small contribution, but hopefully everyone who tunes in and sees it gets the point and takes a little bit of that for the next steps he is facing in life.

"Because one thing is to take action in public but more importantly is how everyone is acting and confronting it once the cameras are off. That is true for us and it is true for everyone else."

Published 27 Aug 2020, 23:34 IST
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