After taking his first win of the 2020 Formula 1 season, Lewis Hamilton twice raised a clenched fist in a black power salute. 

The first was as he stepped out of his Mercedes car that he had just driven to a dominant victory over teammate Valtteri Bottas, before he repeated the action on the podium.

It was a poignant image as Hamilton sent out a message both on and off the track as part of two goals the reigning world champion has set himself for 2020.

One is to equal Micheal Schumacher’s all-time record of winning seven drivers world championships. The other is to spread awareness of the importance of pushing for equality and leading the fight against racism and discrimination.

While the first can be achieved as soon as this year through the culmination of six months of relentless effort and hard work, the latter is a battle that Hamilton, as F1’s only black driver, expects to be fighting all his life. 

All 20 F1 drivers have come together as part of the sport’s stand against racial injustice, with a total of 13 drivers joining Hamilton in taking a knee for the second race in a row. 

But with some drivers once again opting to kneel - citing their unease at the possible connotations the gesture could have among their respective nationalities - many have suggested that F1 is sending out a mixed message. 

It is something Hamilton, who revealed he has been actively encouraging his peers to continue to come together against racism, is keen to address. 

"Some people asked: 'How long do we have to continue to do this?' Some felt one last week was enough,” Hamilton explained.

"I had to encourage them: 'We have to continue to push for equality.’

“There were some who were like: 'I already did it last week, I'm not doing it again.' There were some that continued to have the same approach as the first week. And that's why I tried to spend a little more one-on-one time with those who had chosen to stand and just have a chat. 

“From the drivers' point of view, we are going to become closer. I am not saying everyone is going to be taking a knee but as we talk about this more often and I like to think we'll all be together understanding take a knee.

"We are going to be fighting and pushing for it all year and this is going to be a lifelong thing for me.”

On the eve of the delayed season start in Austria, F1 announced its pro-diversity ‘#WeRaceAsOne’ initiative, with chairman and CEO Chase Carey donating $1million of his own money to it.

Meanwhile, the six-times world champion recently launched ‘The Hamilton Commission’ in a bid to promote greater diversity in motorsport, while his Mercedes team has also pledged to make its workforce more diverse and has repainted its F1 cars in an all-black livery for the 2020 season. 

After the second round in Austria, Mercedes sent Stephanie Travers, a black female trackside fluid engineer for Petronas, to represent the team on the podium alongside Hamilton. 

Mercedes’ mechanics also joined Hamilton in taking a knee on the grid, mirroring the gesture made by the Red Bull crew prior to the Austrian Grand Prix last weekend. 

Inspired by the recent events he has witnessed, Hamilton has now challenged Ferrari and other teams to “hold themselves accountable” and improve diversity within their organisations.

“I think ultimately Formula 1, yes they’ve taken a step forward, but there’s absolutely more they can do,” he said. 

“I asked, on a call we had on Zoom, I asked: Look, at the moment Formula 1 has come forward and said that they are supporting ‘end racism’ and it’s amazing to see Mercedes doing the same thing. But no other team has said a single thing.

“Whilst we’ve seen Red Bull’s mechanics take a knee, which I think is great. But publicly as businesses, and as teams, if you look at Ferrari who have thousands of people working with them, I’ve heard no word of Ferrari saying that they hold themselves accountable and this is what they’re going to do for their future.

“We need the teams to do that. And we need Formula 1 and the FIA to be more leading I think in those scenarios say ‘hey guys, all of us together, everyone needs to pull together and fight for this so we can improve’.

“I think a lot of people don’t know what the problem is. Some people deny there is a problem. And that’s ultimately why I put this commission together. Because everyone has their opinion but I really want to get to the bottom of it so when we’re putting money into towards something, we know it’s going to change it the root cause. That’s the goal.”

The developments around the world following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American, who suffocated after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, have resonated deep with Hamilton.

It is these events which have sparked the Briton to take action by spreading a multitude of strong anti-racism messages across his social media platforms in recent months, and ultimately champion a push for change within his own motorsport industry.

In his post-race media call, Hamilton said: “What I do see and read and hear is people out there who go on the defensive and say: 'Well, all lives matter, white lives matter.' Which is not what we're contending.

"It seems that people of colour, for a long time, hundreds of years, their lives seem to be less important. So it's just trying to get through to people because some people put a wall up, a barrier up.

"It's because this is stuff that has been shielded from all of us at school, in our upbringing, in our communities. Perhaps there are some people who have not grown up around it, who perhaps have not been around people or friends who have been subject to abuse.

"I have got black friends who have managed to go through life not having any particular abuse in their community. They have grown up in a black community. Whereas there are others like myself who grew up in a white community.

"It is about understanding. And I've spent a little bit of time within the sport here talking to some of the drivers.

"I don't know whether they fully understand just how impactful their voices can be. Or some of them just don't want to support Black Lives Matter but they stand for anti-racism. But it's the same thing.

"There are those who said they felt the Black Lives Matter movement seemed political and I've made it clear I am not supporting the political side of things; it's the human rights side.”

Hamilton stressed that public demonstrations at the opening two rounds of the 2020 season is simply the beginning of a campaign to spread awareness. He has vowed not to “give up” in this particular fight.

"What we do moving forwards I really don't know," he explained. "But what I can say is that this is not it.

"Us taking a knee at the start of the race and having a black car doesn't solve the problem. It helps continue to raise awareness. But we have a whole season, a whole year and it's a constant fight that we all have to do - including you guys. We can all chip in and do our part and have a positive impact in our environments.

"When I'm having the discussions with the drivers, the young guns, I'm like: 'Guys, you are the future of this sport. I am going to try and stay as long as I can but you guys are going to be carrying on the baton and really leading this sport.’

"We together need to set a great example for the world that is watching in fighting the injustice and inequality. I'll get there. I won't give up."