Why Hamilton is F1’s most outspoken driver
By Mat Coch
Tuesday 17th August, 2021 - 2:16pm
Lewis Hamilton has explained his stance on why he has adopted a more outspoken position on key social issues over the last two seasons.
Hamilton has been a driving force as Formula 1 has attempted to be seen as more diverse and inclusive.
That has seen it given prevalence to its We Race As One programme at the start of each event, at which drivers are encouraged to make their own statements.
The seven-time world champion has recently seen his Hamilton Commission publish a report detailing a list of recommendations on how to improve the representation of black people in UK motorsport.
At Mercedes, the team has recent launched its ‘Accelerate 25’ programme, which centres on increasing diversity and inclusion ratios among new starters.
“I think as I get older and I’m understanding more,” Hamilton said of his role in driving conversations forward, and whether he would continue to take a knee during the pre-race build up.
“I would like to think we went through an educational phase last year where we’re all learning more.
“There was a lot more discussion, I was watching more documentaries, I was reading a huge amount more trying to educate myself on the things that are happening around the world and that hasn’t stopped.
“It definitely felt empowering to not be silent like some may want you to be.
“It definitely felt good to know on the one side, taking the knee on a personal level to let the black community know that I hear you, I see you, and I stand with you.
“That was important for me, but along the way there’s so many things that we need to address around the world and naturally I can’t fix everything.
“I naturally want to help,” he added.
“I think we have, as I mentioned last year, an amazing platform here.
“I think it’s great to see the steps that Formula 1 are taking, the steps Mercedes are taking, in terms of making this sport more diverse.
“I plan to continue to take the knee because I think what’s really important is that when young children are watching what we’re doing here in this sport, and when they see us take the knee they will sit and ask their parents or their teachers why are they doing [that], what are they taking the knee for, and it sparks an uncomfortable conversation.
“It means parents have to educate themselves and the kids are getting educated.”
Recently, Formula 1’s position on diversity and inclusion came under fire after a number of drivers were reprimanded for wearing political messages during the national anthem at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
In that instance, a simple timing mistake was made.
The FIA has remained adamant that political messages should not be made during the national anthem or podium presentation.
With rain beginning to fall pre-race in Hungary, a number of drivers, including Sebastian Vettel, missed their window to remove their t-shirts ahead of the anthem beginning.