Hamil­ton free to ‘take the knee’ for whole campaign

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Philip Dun­can in Spiel­berg

For­mula One chiefs will not stop Lewis Hamil­ton from con­tin­u­ing to “take the knee” at races this sea­son.

Hamil­ton knelt be­fore the first round in Aus­tria, where he fin­ished fourth in a dis­ap­point­ing start to the sea­son, and sub­se­quently re­vealed he would carry on per­form­ing the ges­ture if pro­vided with a plat­form to do so by the sport.

It is un­der­stood that F1’s Amer­i­can own­ers, Lib­erty Me­dia, and the gov­ern­ing body, the FIA, will in­form Bri­tain’s six-time world cham­pion that he is free to kneel at the next in­stal­ment of the championsh­ip in Aus­tria this weekend and for the re­main­der of the year.

The fi­nal de­ci­sion is likely to rest with the driv­ers, who are ex­pected to dis­cuss the di­vi­sive sub­ject again here on Fri­day.

Red Bull’s Max Ver­stap­pen and Fer­rari’s Charles Le­clerc were among six who elected to stand in the mo­ments be­fore Sun­day’s race. Both posted mes­sages say­ing they were com­mit­ted to the fight for equal­ity. But it is be­lieved some of the driv­ers who knelt last weekend could de­cide to stand on Sun­day.

Span­ish driver Car­los Sainz was among those who stood. His McLaren boss, the Amer­i­can Zak Brown, told BBC Ra­dio 4’s Today pro­gramme: “There was unity on the grid. It de­pends how you view peo­ple’s ac­tions. All the driv­ers were clear they sup­port end­ing racism. Peo­ple are en­ti­tled to ex­press their views in dif­fer­ent ways, so I don’t think one ges­ture is nec­es­sar­ily how you have to do that.”

Ross Brawn, F1’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, said: “For­mula One’s po­si­tion is clear. Racism has no place in our sport. We want more di­ver­sity and in­clu­sion and we are do­ing every­thing we can to fa­cil­i­tate that.

“The driv­ers com­ing to­gether on the grid was a pow­er­ful mes­sage, with peo­ple free to sup­port this fight in their own way.”

Lead­ing the fight: Lewis Hamil­ton will con­tinue to kneel be­fore races, but more driv­ers may opt to stand on Sun­day

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