Lewis Hamilton says he has spoken to all 20 Formula 1 drivers about taking a knee, but understands there are differing opinions on how to protest racial injustice.
The gesture, which was first popularised by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016, has seen a resurgence in prominence since the wave of ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests in response to the police killing of George Floyd in America.
Led by Hamilton, F1’s season-opener in Austria saw 14 of the 20 drivers on the grid take a knee before the national anthem, however only 11 of the 20 continued the practice for the second race as well.
Asked about why the number had decreased, Hamilton explained it was due to a mix of drivers not wanting to repeat the gesture, and less coordination ahead of time.
“There wasn’t a plan to [kneel] again, for whatever reason. But we did the drivers’ briefing, and we stay on afterwards and have a Zoom chat,” he said.
“We had this debate of whether we’re going to do it again. I said I’m going to continue to do it.
“There were some that were like: ‘Well I already did it last week, I’m not doing it again.’ There were some that continued to have the same approach that they had to the first week.
Some drivers, such as Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, have publicly stated they prefer not to take a knee, but Hamilton indicated he hopes to bring them around to his point of view.
“That’s why I tried to spend a bit more one-on-one time with a few of those that had chosen to stand, just to have a chat.”
“From the drivers’ point of view, I think we’re going to come closer during this period of time, not saying that everyone is going to be taking a knee, but over time, we begin to talk about this more often.
“I like to think that at some stage, we’ll all be together, understanding, taking a knee.”