LEWIS HAMILTON has urged people who supported the Black Lives Matter movement for racial equality to “keep pushing” for change.
Lewis Hamilton has responded to critics who argue he should leave political issues alone and concentrate on racing. Hamilton, 37, has been a vociferous supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, and has long used his platform as a world famous star to push for change on a variety of issues.
This season, F1 has made it optional for drivers to take the knee before the races, a notion that has become a familiar sight in sport since the harrowing death of George Floyd back in May 2020. The British driver has regularly sported t-shirts supporting the movement at race weekends, including one that read ‘Let’s show compassion’ in an apparent message to society.
At Grand Prix races in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Abu Dhabi last season, Hamilton also sported a rainbow coloured helmet, to show his solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community as the F1 circuit made a controversial three-race swing through the Middle East. All three countries have been criticised for their draconian anti-LGBTQ+ laws.
And the seven-time world champion has now hit back at suggestions he should ‘stick to racing’ F1 cars. In an interview with Naomi Schiff for Sky Sports F1 Youtube channel, he said high-profile figures like himself had to act on behalf of the younger generation.
“The Black Lives Matter [movement], it brought stuff up in me that I really didn’t realise I’d suppressed. It was a real release, and then all the speaking out and the engagement with everyone, and then I guess I really discovered my purpose – it’s not just being a racing driver.
“And people just say shut up and race. Like they say to LeBron [James] shut up and dribble. But there are young kids watching us, what are we gonna do? We have to be encouraging them and we have to be affecting change because it’s much, much needed.”