Hamilton not planning Belgian GP boycott amid US protests

Lewis Hamilton says he has no plans to boycott the Belgian Grand Prix after action from athletes in the United States in recent days following the shooting of Jacob Blake.

Hamilton not planning Belgian GP boycott amid US protests

A number of black athletes in the United States led boycotts of sporting events this week after Blake - an unarmed, black man - was shot by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday.

Blake's shooting sparked a fresh wave of protests across the world amid ongoing activism against racism and racial injustice.

Fixtures in the NBA, WNBA, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer were postponed on Wednesday following boycotts, sparked by the Milwaukee Bucks' basketball team refusing to leave their locker room.

Tennis player Naomi Osaka pulled out of a major tournament in New York set for Thursday, with Hamilton - F1's only black driver - writing on Instagram that he was "so proud" of her decision.

Asked if he was considering withdrawing for this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix in protest, Hamilton said he had no plans currently to do so, but stood unified with those taking action.

"It's incredible what many out there in the States are doing within their sports, all the way down to the people that are hosting, the commentators for example," Hamilton said.

"So many people are standing with the players, and really pushing for change. It's a shame that's what is needed over there in order to get a reaction.

"But that is in America, and I don't know if really me doing anything here will particularly have any effect. We're in Belgium, we're not in the United States.

"I haven't spoken to anybody about it, but I am really proud of so many out there. I do stand unified with them, trying to do what I can over here.

"I don't know how us not doing the race… it will still go on, it's a thing. But I'll still try and speak to Formula 1 to see what else we can do, to continue to raise awareness, continue to help push.

"Naturally I think as a sport, I think we all need to be aligned. We all need to be supporting one another, even though it is a different sport."

Hamilton has been F1's leading figure in its anti-racism messaging, having called on the series to improve its diversity push in recent months.

F1 has staged a pre-race gesture condemning racism at each grand prix so far this season, where the majority of drivers have elected to take a knee.

Renault's Daniel Ricciardo said the F1 drivers would have to discuss the ongoing events around the world and their messaging at the next opportunity.

"We have to talk as a as a group here, amongst our sport, as drivers and just have that conversation, and see where everyone's head is at," Ricciardo said.

"It's devastating. That's the thing, it's like, when is it enough? I'm not one to read the news to be honest, but when I do, especially this now, you just shake your head in disbelief.

"How can it be going on? It still blows my mind.

"If there's something we can do of course I think we, we will. Let's try to do something, but we have to have that discussion."

GPDA director Sebastian Vettel echoed Hamilton's thoughts that a boycott may not have such an impact outside of the United States, but that F1 remained committed in its anti-racism messaging through its action.

"The measures that have been taken in the US with some players boycotting or going on strike, not going out for the games and therefore the games having to be postponed, I think maybe they are more US-specific," Vettel said.

"From where we are, we seem to be quite happy as drivers of our actions, and want to keep sending that message.

"Having said that, we know that it doesn't change things overnight, and it's only a very small contribution. But hopefully everybody that's tuned in and sees it gets the point and gets the message, and takes a bit of that for the next steps that he faces in life.

"One thing is to take action in public. I think more importantly, it's what everyone is deciding or how everyone is acting or confronting it once the cameras are off.

"That's true for us, being in a spotlight in a certain amount during a weekend, but also valid for everyone else."

shares
comments

Related video

F1 teams to trial new low-downforce wings at Spa
Previous article

F1 teams to trial new low-downforce wings at Spa

Next article

Hamilton: Only drivers pushing Pirelli for better F1 tyres

Hamilton: Only drivers pushing Pirelli for better F1 tyres
Load comments
The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race Prime

The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race

OPINION: Max Verstappen has made the 2021 Formula 1 championship. He’s taken the fight to the all-conquering Mercedes squad and its dominant champion, produced driving displays few can match. But he’s been on a controversial course too, and finally crossed a particular line in Jeddah

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An ill-tempered Saudi Grand Prix made Formula 1 more soap opera than sporting spectacle at times, but there were some strong performances up and down the field on the world championship's first visit to Jeddah

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series Prime

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a race packed full of incident as Formula 1 2021's title contenders repeatedly clashed on track. Lewis Hamilton won out over Max Verstappen to level the scores heading into next weekend's Abu Dhabi finale, as Jeddah turned F1 into a drama series

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Prime

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2021
The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes Prime

The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton...

Formula 1
Dec 4, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Prime

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021