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20 Jul, 2020 10:29

'I don’t think it’s being taken seriously': Lewis Hamilton SLAMS F1 rivals for failing to embrace fight against racism

'I don’t think it’s being taken seriously': Lewis Hamilton SLAMS F1 rivals for failing to embrace fight against racism

Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton won the Hungarian Grand Prix with ease on Sunday, but appears to be facing a tougher battle off the track as he attempts to unite the sport in the fight against racism.

Hamilton totally dominated the race at the Hungaroring in Budapest to extend his lead at the top of the drivers' standings after three races so far this season. But after the race he used his post-victory interviews to call out Formula 1, and his fellow drivers and teams, for not presenting a united front in the fight against racism.

All 20 drivers gathered on the start line ahead of the first race of the season in Austria, as they made a visual collective statement of unity against racism. However, even that statement was a disjointed one with a handful of drivers opting not to kneel while the rest of the grid did so.

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And on Sunday in Budapest, a similar gathering in parc ferme ahead of the race looked disorganized and rushed as drivers dashed to stand or kneel in place. But as they arrived to do so the Hungarian national anthem started, prompting the drivers to return to their feet.

It came across as a messy, disorganized and half-hearted attempt to make a statement, and Hamilton expressed his frustration at the apparent lack of commitment to the cause.

"There definitely is not enough support for it," he told the Guardian.

"Many drivers seem to be of the opinion that they have done it once and are not going to do it again. It’s almost like it has gone off the agenda. It's lacking leadership. There needs to be leadership from the top."

During an interview on Sky Sports F1, the world champion called out the head of the GPDA, Haas F1 driver Romain Grosjean, for not wanting to commit to the initiative.

Also on rt.com United against racism: But Formula 1's racers were noticeably DIVIDED over taking a knee before Austrian Grand Prix

"He doesn’t think it’s important to do it," said a clearly frustrated Hamilton.

"He’s one of them that thinks that it was done once and that’s all we need to do. So I tried to speak to him about what the problem is, and that it’s not going away and we have to continue to fight for it.

"But I think this time he didn’t mention anything in the drivers’ briefing and neither did Sebastian (Vettel). Sebastian and I messaged each other and he stressed, as did I, the importance to continue to do it."

And speaking to the BBC, he said there is a clear split in the pit lane, with some drivers keen to push the issue, while others would prefer to move on from it.

"I don’t think it’s being taken seriously," said Hamilton, who also shared his frustrations in an Instagram post after the race.

"There are perhaps people who have not grown up around it so don’t understand it and because of that 'it doesn’t affect me.'

"I have heard those comments: 'It doesn’t do anything for me so why should I do it?'

"But it’s not about 'me' and it’s not about 'you,' it’s about this fight that the world, people out there who are experiencing discrimination. That’s what we’re fighting for. We’re fighting for change in organizations.

"But there are a few drivers who are in touch with me and are like: 'Hey, I want to be a part of this, what can I do?'

"It’s fantastic and my dream is that by the end of the year we all know and understand things better and we all stand united and the whole of F1 is on top of it."

Also on rt.com 'It makes complete sense to me now': Lewis Hamilton says Bernie Ecclestone's comments explain F1's lack of action against racism