After a four-month hiatus due to the current health crisis, the anticipated new season of the Formula One race had finally commenced once again. But the opening of this F1 race before the Austrian Grand Prix, it also included a different take on race as F1 racer and defending champion Lewis Hamilton, while wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt, knelt in the start line. 13 other drivers followed suit.
Meanwhile, the six remaining drivers remained standing after Hamilton’s stance, including Ferrari racer Charles Leclerc, who defended his non-kneeling by writing on a tweet that all of the racers are “embracing the principles of diversity, equality, and inclusion.” He further said that beyond formal gestures, it is important how we behave in our everyday life, and that not kneeling is not necessarily not concerned with the issue on racism.
The other racers who did not kneel are Max Verstappen, Daniil Kvyat, Carlos Sainz, Antonio Giovinazzi, and Kim Raikkonen.
In a report from CNN, Hamilton clarified that he never urged the other racers to kneel with him. But he also expressed disappointment that some of them are not vocal about racism. He then thanked those who knelt with him to send “a powerful message,” and acknowledged that racial inequality remains a bigger issue in different parts of the world.
Hamilton was regularly lauded for his efforts to being expressive in condemning racial inequality. He is also the only Black racer to join F1 so far. Previously, he also modified both his helmet and Mercedes in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
On June, Formula One unveiled their new campaign #WeRaceAsOne which hopes to be a platform to tackle racism and inequality issues in the sport and global communities, as well as to recognize the efforts of people battling the pandemic.
All the other 19 racers were wearing End Racism shirts for the race. The campaign Black Lives Matter is a movement to fight racism, inequality, and prejudice in America following the death of George Floyd while being seized by a cop.
The Mercedes from Valtteri Bottas topped the race. Another race is set on the following weekend in Austria, as the season continues