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Hamilton may be left alone in waving the anti-racism flag, says Hill



Firm stance: Lewis Hamilton has been battling against racism

Firm stance: Lewis Hamilton has been battling against racism


Firm stance: Lewis Hamilton has been battling against racism

Damon Hill believes Lewis Hamilton could be left to carry Formula One's anti-racism baton alone - fearing people will grow tired of the Briton's campaign.

Hamilton will take a knee ahead of tomorrow's British Grand Prix - and he is set to be joined by a number of drivers. The sport's bosses have scheduled a slot in the timetable before the Silverstone race to avoid the messy arrangement seen at the past two rounds.

A split, however, has emerged among the grid with as many as eight of the 20 drivers uneasy at performing a gesture associated with the Black Lives Matter movement. Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc have said they will continue to stand.

"People don't like being told what to do," said 1996 world champion Hill. "They also tire of things quite quickly.

"The support can be there initially but how do you go forward with this? You don't want to wear out people's sympathies, so it is going to be a challenge to keep the flag flying for Lewis' cause. Maybe he is going to have to do it on his own and move on?

"It is entirely appropriate for Lewis to carry on. Everyone is behind him, everyone gets what he wants to do and the support is there in helping black people achieve their goal of being rid of prejudice and injustices.

"That is a constant battle, but there are other causes too. Does Sebastian Vettel have an initiative to support, for example? Teams want to support charities also.

"For it now onwards to all be about Black Lives Matter is wrong. And if it just becomes about Lewis' campaign I fear it will be bound solely on him. I would hate to see that happen."

Hamilton, who heads into his home race as the favourite to win at Silverstone for a remarkable seventh time, has used his social media platforms to criticise three-time world champion Sir Jackie Stewart (81) and Mario Andretti (80).

Stewart said there "was no resistance to change" in Formula One, while American Andretti, the 1978 world champion, described Hamilton as "pretentious" and "creating a problem that doesn't exist". Hamilton called Andretti "ignorant" and Stewart's comments "disappointing".

Hill added: "The future is going to be from Lewis downwards. He is 35 and not a young man anymore. It is their world, not the way my parents saw it, or the elder statesmen see it.

"But you have to be very careful with showing respect and slinging accusations around. I don't believe that Sir Jackie Stewart is racist. I don't believe that Mario Andretti doesn't understand the situation at all. Both men are experienced and worldly.

"Don't forget the Springfield Youth Club in Hackney which Jackie is the president of. Nearly all the families are from a black background, so that has been an encouraging and positive endorsement that the Stewart family has been involved with."

Belfast Telegraph