Lewis Hamilton, the six-time Formula One Champion, praised his team, Mercedes, for its stance against racism. However, he said after finishing first in Sunday's Styrian Grand Prix that teams such as Ferrari and others must strive to do more.
The 35-year-old Briton and 11 other drivers took a knew before the race began and wore a T-shirt that read "Black Lives Matter". Hamilton gave a raised fist salute on his car, and after winning at the Red Bull Ring, repeated the action on the podium.
Not All Racers Take The Knee
It was the second weekend in a row that drivers have knelt before the start, although not all have done so. Taking the knee has become a common act of protest against racism and police brutality since the killing of George Floyd, a Black American, by a white police officer in Minneapolis unleashed a global outpouring of sadness and outrage. The gesture was not part of the official program, as it had been before the season-opener at the same Austrian circuit when Formula One and teams emphasized an anti-racism message.
"We've seen Red Bull's mechanics take a knee, which I think is great, but as businesses and as teams...if you look at Ferrari who have thousands of people working with them, I've heard no word of Ferrari saying that they hold themselves accountable, and this is what they're going to do for their future," the sport's only Black driver told reporters.
No Comment from Ferrari
"And we need the teams to do that. We need Formula One and the FIA to be more leading in those scenarios, saying 'hey guys, all of us together, everyone needs to pull together and fight for this.'
"I think a lot of people don't know what the problem is," added Hamilton, who has set up a commission to push for equal opportunity and more diversity in motorsport. "Some people deny there is a problem." There was no immediate comment from Ferrari, whose race on Sunday lasted about 20 seconds until Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc collided.
Vettel has knelt alongside Hamilton before both races. However, Leclerc remained standing but with 'End Racism' on his shirt. "Formula One left us the choice to express ourselves in the way we wanted," Leclerc said. "It was clearly written on our shirt to end racism, which is the main message we want to pass through."
(With inputs from agencies)