This year, F1 will again hold a pre-race moment for drivers to express their personal views following the ceremony’s introduction in 2020 in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests that followed the killing of George Floyd.
A change has been made ahead of the 2021 season, with the moment no longer being held on a banner displaying the words ‘End Racism’ and instead taking place on one highlighting F1’s ‘We Race as One’ initiative.
When asked about what he intends to do this year regarding protesting against racism and continuing to highlight the need to improve diversity in motorsport, Hamilton said: “I plan to continue to take the knee.
“Because I think what’s really important is when young children are watching what we’re doing here in this sport.
“And when they see us take the knee, they will sit and ask their parents or their teachers, ‘Why are they doing that? What are they taking the knee for?’
“It sparks an uncomfortable conversation. It means parents have to educate themselves. And the kids are getting educated.
“It’s a fight that’s not won. It’s a fight that will continue on for a long time, I’m sure. But definitely I think we’re in a good time where conversation is healthy.”
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1, and the other drivers stand on the grid prior to the start
Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
Hamilton, who was speaking in the pre-race press conference for this weekend’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, explained how his actions in 2020 “definitely felt empowering to not be silent, like some may want you to be”.
“It definitely felt that on the one side, taking the knee on a personal level, to let the black community know that I hear you, I see you and I stand with you – that was important for me,” he continued.
“But along the way, there’s so many things that we need to address around the world. And naturally, I can’t fix everything. But I naturally want to help.
“I think we have, as I mentioned last year, an amazing platform here.
“I think it’s great to see the steps that Formula 1 are taking, the steps Mercedes are taking in terms of making this sport more diverse.”
Hamilton also stated how he “can’t ignore the fact” that his work to promote the causes he cares for passionately “weighed heavily on me” in 2020.
He added: “As I get older, I’m understanding more. I think we all like to think we went through an educational phase last year. We’re all learning more, there was a lot more discussion.
“I was watching more documentaries, I was reading a huge amount more – trying to educate myself on the things that are happening around the world. And that hasn’t stopped through the winter, also.”