| 18.6°C Belfast

Racism fight won't suffer silent death, vows Lewis

Close

Bubbly character: Bottas celebrates his victory

Bubbly character: Bottas celebrates his victory

AP

Bubbly character: Bottas celebrates his victory

Lewis Hamilton could continue to "take a knee" at Formula One races - saying he does not want the fight against racism to die a silent death.

Hamilton, who was among 14 drivers who knelt before the opening round of the 2020 season in Austria, revealed he was talked out of doing it at the US Grand Prix three years ago.

The 35-year-old, cementing his current status as British sport's loudest voice on racism, spoke passionately about the topic after he finished fourth in the first race of his title defence.

"There has been awareness on the subject over the last few weeks and we don't need it to die a silent death and see no change," said Hamilton. "I can be the guinea pig and keep speaking out.

"All of us, myself included, we have to be accountable. This started with NFL player Colin Kaepernick. He sat down for the US national anthem. He sat down and received a backlash.

"It was suggested to him to take a knee. It was a powerful statement but he lost his job and never got it back. I spoke to him before the [2017] US Grand Prix and I had a helmet made in red with his number on the top. But I was silenced and told to back down. I supported that decision which I regret."

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and Red Bull's Max Verstappen were among six drivers who opted not to take a knee. Both posted messages before the grand prix, saying they were committed in the fight against racism. McLaren's Carlos Sainz, Russian Daniil Kvyat, Alfa Romeo team-mates Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi also stood up.

Hamilton was the only driver to wear a special T-shirt with the message 'Black Lives Matter' The others carried the End Racism message instead.

Belfast Telegraph