until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Hamilton’s racial confrontation and the responses he sparked

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
5 min read

Frustration from Lewis Hamilton over Formula 1’s “silence in the midst of injustice” has triggered a wave of messages from drivers condemning racial discrimination and encouraging others to speak out.

On Sunday evening six-time world champion Hamilton, the only black driver in Formula 1 history, shared two posts on Instagram apparently targeting his F1 colleagues.

He called out the “white-dominated sport” for not joining the throng of objectors around the world following the death of George Floyd in the United States of America and the protests taking place since.

“I see those of you who are staying silent, some of you the biggest stars yet you stay silent in the midst of injustice,” Hamilton wrote.

“Not a sign from anybody in my industry which of course is a white dominated sport. I’m one of the only people of colour there yet I stand alone.

“I would have thought by now you would see why this happens and say something about it but you can’t stand alongside us.

“Just know I know who you are and I see you.”

Hamilton then shared a second posted later in the evening, which addressed the issue of racial discrimination more broadly.

“I do not stand with those looting and burning buildings but those who are protesting peacefully, “ he said.

“There can be no peace until our so-called leaders make change.

“This is not just America, this is the UK, this is Spain, this is Italy and all over.

“The way minorities are treated has to change, how you educate those in your country of equality, racism, classism, and that we are all the same.

“We are not born with racism and hate in our hearts, it is taught by those we look up to.”

Since Hamilton’s posts, without mentioning him, multiple drivers have taken to social media to urge others not to stay silent.

Williams driver Nicholas Latifi broke the silence with a short message that “this has to stop” and a “Justice for George” mural.

In the early hours of Monday morning, Charles Leclerc followed with a more expansive statement.

“To be completely honest, I felt out of place and uncomfortable sharing my thoughts on social media about the whole situation and this is why I haven’t express myself earlier than today,” he wrote

“And I was completely wrong.

“I still struggle to find the words to describe the atrocity of some videos I’ve seen on the internet.

“Racism needs to be met with actions, not silence. Please be actively participating, engaging and encouraging others to spread awareness.

“It is our responsibility to speak out against injustice. Don’t be silent. I stand #BlackLivesMatters”

Lando Norris shared a link to a portal containing key resources in the Black Lives Matter campaign.

“I have fans and followers,” he wrote. “Support and love.

“And I have power through this to lead and inspire so many.

“But we also stand for what’s right. This time I ask you to do something and take action.”

And Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo shared an ‘Enough is enough’ mural on Instagram, accompanied with a message that read: “Seeing the news the last few days has left me saddened, what happened to George Floyd and what continues to happen in today’s society is a disgrace.

“Now more than ever we need to stand together, unified together.

“Racism is toxic and needs to be addressed not with violence or silence but with unity and action.

“We need to stand up, we need to be a WE. Let’s be better people. It’s 2020 ffs [for fuck sake]. Black lives matter.”

Later on Monday morning, Norris’s team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr and Williams driver George Russell added their voices to the mix.

“These issues that we are facing nowadays in 2020 makes us think that we have gone back in time regardless (of) the suffering and tears of our ancestors,” Sainz posted on Instagram.

“It is crazy to think what is still happening right now, we all have the same blood…

“Regarding our environment, we’re a global sport with workers and fans from all over the world, from various backgrounds, religions, skin colours, and conditions.

“We work together in great harmony to entertain everyone around the globe and spread a message of sportsmanship and unity.

“I absolutely condemn all types of racism and all types of injustice. Diversity pushes us forward, we embrace it.

“Hopefully one day everyone will.”

Russell said he shared Leclerc’s position and was initially not sure what he should say publicly.

“We all have a voice to speak up for what’s right – and until now I didn’t know how to use mine in this situation,” said Russell.

“To echo Charles Leclerc’s words, I just felt out of place sharing my thoughts on these atrocities publicly.

“I struggle to comprehend what I’m seeing in the news and on social media right now – and honestly, I still can’t find the words to express how it makes me feel.

“But ultimately, no matter how uncomfortable it may be to speak out, silence achieves nothing.

“Now more than ever, we need peace and equality in this world. It’s time we all stand together and kick racism out of our societies for good. Use your voice, spread awareness as far as you can. We’re all responsible for ending the injustice.”

Ex-F1 driver Karun Chandhok, one of only two grand prix drivers from India, said: “Fair play to @LewisHamilton to speak up.

“As part of the minority of non-white people in motorsport, I’m lucky that I’ve never felt any negativity.

“But sport has the ability to unite. Others like George Floyd were not so lucky and society worldwide needs to change.”

On Monday afternoon, Mercedes also issued a short statement on social media in response to Hamilton’s comments.

Comments are open on this article to allow the debate to continue, but The Race reserves the right to close them if the facility is abused.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks