Ricciardo explains F1 drivers’ knee call

Lewis Hamilton could continue to “take a knee” at Formula One races – saying he does not want the fight against racism to die a silent death – as Daniel Ricciardo reacted to the six drivers electing not to do so in Austria.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen were among six drivers who opted not to take a knee – although both posted messages before the grand prix saying they were committed in the fight against racism.

Ricciardo – who was among the 14 drivers along with Hamilton to take a knee before the opening race of the 2020 season – tried to explained why so many of his rivals may not have felt comfortable in taking a knee.

“The chat [on Friday] with the drivers was essentially saying all of us are 100 per cent on board with supporting it and ending racism. None of us our anti this, so we all support this,” the Australian, who failed to finish the race at the Red Bull Ring, said.

“I just think there was a little bit of difficulty with some drivers and their nationality, and what something like taking a knee would represent.

“Obviously the reasons why we would do it is purely to support Black Lives Matter.

“It is for nothing political or anything else… We all understood that we will do what we feel comfortable with.

“But no one is going to be judged or criticised if they don’t stand there in a certain way or take a knee.”

McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, Russian Daniil Kvyat and Alfa Romeo teammates Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi were the others.

Hamilton revealed he was talked out of doing it at the US Grand Prix three years ago.

Mexican Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

The 35-year-old spoke passionately about racism after he finished fourth in the first race of his latest title defence.

“There has been awareness on the subject over the last few weeks and we don’t need it to die a silent death and see no change,” he said.

“I can be the guinea pig and keep speaking out.

“All of us, myself included, we have to be accountable.

“This started with NFL player Colin Kaepernick. He sat down for the US national anthem. He sat down and received a backlash…

“I spoke to him before the [2017] US Grand Prix and I had a helmet made in red with his number on the top.

“But I was silenced and told to back down. I supported that decision which I regret.

“So it was important for me to make sure I played my part this time and, moving forward, whether there is going to be an opportunity to take the knee, I don’t know.”


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