Lewis Hamilton has confirmed he plans to continue to take the knee during the 2021 Formula 1 season because it “sparks an uncomfortable conversation”. 

F1 has revised its pre-race demonstration this year to widen its previous ‘End Racism’ message and show support for all important matters such as inclusion and diversity as part of its We Race As One initiative. 

Drivers are free to use this dedicated pre-race window to show their support in any way they wish. 

Hamilton, who is bidding to clinch a record-breaking eighth world title this season after equalling the seven world championships won by Michael Schumacher in 2020, revealed he will keep taking the knee this year. 

“I plan to continue to take the knee,” the Mercedes driver said during Thursday’s FIA press conference ahead of this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix. 

“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.”

Hamilton championed F1’s anti-racism push throughout 2020 and was one of the leading supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement and widespread protests that followed the killing of George Floyd. 

“I can’t ignore the fact that last year weighed heavily on me,” Hamilton explained.

“As I get older I’m understanding more. I’d like to think we all 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.

“It definitely felt empowering to not be silent like some may want you to be. It definitely felt good, 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. 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. 

“As I mentioned last year I think we have an amazing platform here, I think it’s great to see the steps that Formula 1 are taking, the steps that Mercedes are taking in terms of making this sport more diverse.”

 

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