Lewis Hamilton claims division between his fellow drivers over taking a knee before Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix is further proof of racism in Formula One.
Moments after he was beaten to pole position by team-mate Valtteri Bottas for the season-opening race, Hamilton was asked if the split was evidence of a problem within the sport.
“We know there is an issue,” the Mercedes driver said. “We don’t need an experience like tomorrow to prove that.”
During a tense virtual meeting of all 20 drivers at Spielberg’s Red Bull Ring on Friday night, the topic of taking a knee was discussed. But the drivers failed to reach a unanimous conclusion.
It is expected that a number are ready to adopt the gesture. However, it is thought at least a quarter of the grid are uneasy about doing it due to the political outlook of the Black Lives Matter movement.
There was also a feeling of disappointment in some quarters that Hamilton called out drivers who had chosen not to post an anti-racism message on social media. “I know who you are and I see you,” Hamilton wrote last month.
“We spoke a bit in the drivers’ briefing, yep, interesting,” added Hamilton with a heavy hint of sarcasm.