Wearing a “Black Lives Matter” T-shirt, Lewis Hamilton, the reigning Formula 1 driving champion, took a knee for second time in two weeks. This time it was before Sunday’s Styria Grand Prix Austria, which he won.
To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, a mechanical device handed trophies to the three top finishers.
Hamilton, F1’s only black driver, gave a defiant clenched fist salute.
Hamilton intentionally has sparked discussions about racism in the sport and what he, his family and friends have experienced.
“Today was an important moment for me and all the people out there who are working for and hoping for change for a more equal and just society,” Hamilton told Yahoo sports.
“I may get criticism in the media and elsewhere, but this fight is about equality, not politics or promotion. To me it was an emotional and poignant chapter in the progress of making F1 a more diverse and inclusive sport. I want a better future for our generation and the ones after us. There is so much that needs to be done,” Hamilton said.
He faced outrageous racism years ago at the Spanish Grand Prix. Spectators wore black face, nappy wigs and T-shirts that read “Hamilton’s Family.”
The first race of the Formula 1 racing season is usually held in Melbourne, Australia, but it was cancelled because of the coronavirus, delaying the opening of the racing season two months.
Hamilton, the six- time F1 world champion, finished fourth in the Austrian Grand Prix.
Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate finished first. Charles LeClerc, who drives for Ferrari, came in second and Lando Norris, who drives for McClaren, finished third.
At Styria, he finished ahead of Bottas. Max Verstappen, who drives for Honda, finished third.