The six times world champion Lewis Hamilton just criticised Formula One’s leaders after what he called a “rushed” anti-racism gesture by some drivers before the start of Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
Hamilton, who won from the pole position to take the championship lead after three races, again took a knee while wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt, but some drivers were either too late or remained standing.
Formula One F1 - Hungarian Grand Prix - Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary - July 19, 2020 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton kneels in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign before the race. Image credit Mark Thompson/Pool via REUTERS
Only eight of the 15 drivers who turned up on time joined the only Black driver in kneeling.
“Moving forwards, we need to speak to Formula One,” Hamilton declared. “They need to do a better job. It was such a rush.
“I was getting out of the car, running over, and quickly taking the knee.
“They (F1) need to do more, and I don’t know why they only did it for the first race at the start, they’ve not done it since then,” added the Briton.
Even though the highest class of international single-seater auto racing allocated some time before the season-opener in Austria for drivers to show support for an anti-racism campaign, the same gesture did not happen for the second race at the Red Bull Ring or in Hungary.
“They’ve come out saying they’re going to be fighting for diversity and ‘End Racism’, but they’re not giving us the platform to continue that because it’s all rushed,” outtered Hamilton.
“I think they can give us more time. I’ll probably send an email over the next couple of days, try to coordinate with them. They do want to do it, it’s just I guess there was not good enough communication.”
Image credit TechnoCodex
Hamilton was also very critical about Haas F1 Team driver Romain Grosjean. Hamilton said: “He doesn’t think it’s important to do it (referring to the gesture in support of the Black Lives Matter movement). He’s one of them that thinks that it was done once and that’s all we need to do”.
“I tried to speak to him about what the problem is and it’s not going away and we have to continue to fight for it. I think this time he didn’t mention anything in the drivers’ briefing and neither did Sebastian (Vettel)”.
In response, Vettel, who is also a GPDA director, took the parts of the Mercedes driver, saying that “what you see is what the situation is”.
“Today there was very little time, in all fairness everything was a bit rushed... I think going forwards it’s probably true that we need to talk amongst ourselves a bit better so hopefully we can sort it out for the next race.”