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Hamilton wasn't targeting F1 drivers with 'silence' criticism, vows to continue fight for equality

F1 champion and Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton
Modified 02 Jul 2020, 23:54 IST

Lewis Hamilton says he was not specifically targeting other drivers with his callout of the motorsport industry for not doing enough to tackle racial injustice and inequality.

The Formula One world champion has been vocal in his support of the Black Lives Matter movement and has been a strong voice in the fight for equality since the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneanapolis in May.

Hamilton wrote on Instagram "I see those of you who are staying silent, some of you the biggest of stars yet you stay silent in the midst of injustice" but the Briton, speaking on a video released by Mercedes' parent company Daimler, said it was not aimed at other drivers and was intended as a call for more to be done in the fight against injustice.

"People perceived it as [if] I was targeting drivers," he said.

"I really wasn't. It was targeted at the whole industry. And it's been something I've been aware of for a long, long time, and not really seen anyone doing anything about it.

"That was really a calling to people within the industry for accountability, for all the brands. They need to do more. The sport needs to do more. The FIA need to do more. We all need to do more. So that was really what the message was about."

Hamilton further elaborated when speaking to reporters in Austria ahead of F1's delayed start to the season this weekend, and promised not to stop in his fight for change.

"The callout [on Instagram] was really for everyone in this industry," said Hamilton. 

"There are so many great jobs [in Formula 1], there are so many opportunities, but none so far, or very, very few opportunities, have been [given] to minorities, so I think we do really have to push, and more needs to be done for sure.


"I won't stop pushing till we really see change. Seeing one person of colour added to the paddock is not diversity, and so we've really got to dig deep, and really try to pull together and do what we can to shift this, and I think it starts with education."

This week it was announced Mercedes will use all-black livery in support of the BLM movement, while Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas will race in all black overalls.

Hamilton also addressed whether he will take a knee on Sunday, an action first used by NFL star Colin Kaepernick in 2016 and adopted as a symbol of solidarity.

"We [the drivers] haven't all spoken – I'm sure during this weekend we will," Hamilton added.

"It's not something that's been on the top of my mind. I've been asked the question multiple times, and it's not really been a priority for me, whether I plan to kneel at the start line.

"We'll see on Sunday. I think whatever we do, we'll try to do it united. I think it's really important that we remain united, or we become united, I would say, in this sport. We really do have to fight the injustices and the inequality."

Published 02 Jul 2020, 23:54 IST
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