Lewis Hamilton's secret chat with F1 drivers who didn't kneel

Chris Young
·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton is pictured after winning the Styrian Grand Prix.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton says he sought out each if the six drivers who did not take a knee to get their thoughts on how the sport should continue to campaign against racism. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Lewis Hamilton sought out the six Formula One drivers who opted not to take a knee with the 14 others prior to the Austrian grand prix to encourage them to join in the symbolic gesture against racism.

The six-time F1 drivers champion, the sport’s first and only black driver, told Motorsport.com that he had spoken to the six outliers in the hopes that the whole grid might take a knee at a later point inn the season.

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First and foremost for Hamilton though, was ensuring all drivers were on the same page about the sport’s anti-racism stance.

“We had this debate of whether we’re going to do it again. I said I’m going to continue to do it,” he said.

“There were some that were like: ‘Well I already did it last week, I’m not doing it again.’ There were some that continued to have the same approach that they had to the first week.

“That’s why I tried to spend a bit more one-on-one time with a few of those that had chosen to stand, just to have a chat.

“From the drivers’ point of view, I think we’re going to come closer during this period of time, not saying that everyone is going to be taking a knee, but over time, we begin to talk about this more often.

“I like to think that at some stage, we’ll all be together, understanding, taking a knee.”

Lewis Hamilton hoping to organise more shows of solidarity

While the acknowledgement of the Black Lives Matter movement, which was spearheaded by Hamilton, rans smoothly at the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, proceedings were a little less organised at last week’s Styrian GP.

Once again, not all drivers took a knee, but the more ad-hoc nature of the second protest led to some confusion.

Some drivers were late to the grid while Haas driver Kevin Magnussen was absent entirely after being unable to locate a mask and his ‘End Racism’ shirt.

Lewis Hamilton and other F1 drivers are pictured taking a knee prior to the Styrian Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton and other F1 drivers take a knee on the grid in support of the Black Lives Matter movement ahead of the Grand Prix of Styria. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

“Because we planned it, it wasn’t in the FIA schedule, so it was all a rush,” Hamilton said.

“We were supposed to be there I think at 15 minutes-to, I was there at 10-to, and the guys were coming from much further back.

“We just got on with it, and some did try to get there, but it was too late.

“Moving forward, maybe next time we’ll try to do a better job, if we are to do the same thing. But that’s not my choice.”