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Six Formula 1 drivers refuse to take the knee before season-opening race

Written by Konrad Ostrowski

Six Formula 1 drivers remained standing while Lewis Hamilton led the rest in taking the knee before the first race of the 2020 season.

All 20 drivers had agreed beforehand to wear a t-shirt saying ‘END RACISM’ but Hamilton instead wore a Black Lives Matter shirt and took the knee, joined by 13 of his colleagues.

Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen tweeted their support for the fight against racism but confirmed they would not be taking the knee. They were joined by Carlos Sainz, Daniil Kvyat, Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen.

Lewis Hamilton. Image Credit: XPB Images

In a Twitter statement, Verstappen said: “I am very committed to equality and the fight against racism. But I believe everyone has the right to express themself at a time and in a way that suits them. I will not take the knee today but respect and support the personal choices every driver makes.”

On Saturday, the Grand Prix Drivers Association stated that all 20 drivers were united in opposing racism but support each individual to choose how they express their opinions.

The day before the race, Hamilton expressed his frustration with what he sees as a lack of understanding of racism amongst many F1 drivers after speaking to them at a meeting.

Max Verstappen. Image Credit: XPB Images/PA Images

The six-time World Champion said: “I described the scenario that silence is really generally complicit. There is some silence in some cases.

"But I think it is part of a dialogue of people trying to understand, because there are still some people who don't fully understand what is happening and what is the reason for these protests and I continue to try to be that guide and try to influence as many people as I can with it."

Hamilton, as one of the two non-white F1 drivers, has been at the forefront of leading the anti-racism movement within motorsport.

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