Lewis Hamilton says he remains focused both on his fight for equal rights and winning the 2020 Formula 1 World Championship.
After finishing fourth in a not so successful Austrian Grand Prix, some are asking the question if Lewis Hamilton’s focus on fighting for racial justice is taking his mind off of winning his seventh world title. The Briton will have none of it.
“I don’t feel like I need to re-focus,” said Hamilton at Thursday’s Styrian Grand Prix press conference.
“I think if you watch the race, my race was pretty strong. I do naturally need to do a better job on the weekend but I wouldn’t say that I was distracted by any means.
“I continue to stay focused, as I was before, still focused on both trying to fight and win this championship, but also fighting for equal rights.”
Part of Hamilton’s fight was a moment where him and several other drivers ‘took a knee’ in a stand against racism, however the Briton is not sure if they’ll be able to perform the gesture before every race.
“This weekend I don’t believe we have that position [on the grid]… where we had the space and the time to utilise the moment and make a stand.
“You’ll probably go to the national anthem and it’s not my goal to take the knee during the national anthem.
“It was really encouraging to see [the Red Bull team] taking the knee, which I thought was great. So maybe, if we have time, there’s something my team and I could do.
“It’s just about time, there’s not a lot of time before the race. I’m not against taking a knee again, so if I can find a way of making sure it doesn’t get in the way of us doing our job, then I will.”
The Austrian Grand Prix weeked was also memorable for Red Bull’s continued protests against Mercedes. Red Bull first protested Mercedes’ DAS system, then the fact that Hamilton was let off the hook for allegedly not slowing for yellow flags during qualifying.
Ultimately, after Hamilton got handed another penalty for contact with Alex Albon, Red Bull continued to slam the Briton after the race. Hamilton was asked if these might be “mind games” aimed at destabilising him.
“I can’t answer for them. If they don’t know me better by now, mind games don’t work.
“I guess they’ll eventually learn,” concluded the six-time champion.