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1 Jun, 2020 10:21

'I see you staying silent': F1 world champ Lewis Hamilton slams fellow drivers for lack of response to George Floyd death

'I see you staying silent': F1 world champ Lewis Hamilton slams fellow drivers for lack of response to George Floyd death

Reigning F1 champion Lewis Hamilton has hit out at the sport for what he sees as 'silence' in the wake of the death of George Floyd, who died while in police custody in an incident which has sparked a wave of protests.

Floyd's death was captured on cell phone footage which showed him telling the arresting officer that he couldn't breathe while three of the officer's colleagues stood watching.

The death has led to an outpouring of grief and anger from numerous members of the global sporting community, but Hamilton says F1 has stayed largely tight-lipped - prompting the star to issue a statement in which he is heavily critical of what he sees as inaction in his sport in addressing the issue.

Hamilton, who is the first and only black Formula 1 champion in history, wrote in an emotional Instagram post that he 'sees' the people in his sport who are remaining silent in the face of injustice.

"I see those of you who are staying silent, some of you the biggest of stars yet you stay silent in the midst of injustice," he wrote in an Instagram Story. 

"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.

"I do not stand with those looting and burning buildings but those who are protesting peacefully," he added in a separate post."There can be no peace until our so called leaders make change."

It seems as if those words had a galvanizing effect, as soon after Hamilton's statement it was echoed by other figures from the sport including Charles Leclerc and Daniel Ricciardo.

"I still struggle to find the words to describe the atrocity of some videos I've seen on the internet," wrote Leclerc. "Racism needs to be met with actions, not silence. Please be actively participating, engaging and encouraging others to spread awareness. It is our responsibilities to speak out against injustice. Don't remain silent."

Renault's Ricciardo, who will make the switch to McLaren at the end of the season, added his voice to say: "Racism is toxic and needs to be addressed not with violence or silence but with unity and action."

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