LEWIS HAMILTON has blasted F1 and the Grand Prix Drivers Association after the sport’s anti-racism message continues to fall flat.
In more chaotic scenes at the start of the Hungarian GP, some drivers took the knee, some didn’t.
Some had “end racism” T-shirts. Some were nowhere to be seen.
Those who did, were positioned by F1’s staff with their backs to a screen showing someone singing the Hungarian National Anthem – a disrespectful move in itself.
It looked ridiculous – for the third weekend running – as F1 again failed to put aside time in their pre-race schedule for the message.
And Hamilton singled-out GPDA director, Romain Grosjean, for criticism, naming the Haas driver.
The world champ, who won the race at a canter, said: “Well, he [Grosjean] doesn’t think it’s important to do it so…
“He’s one of them that thinks it was done once and that’s all we need to do.
“So I tried to speak to him about what the problem is and it’s not going away and we have to continue to fight for it.
“I think this time he didn’t mention anything in the drivers’ briefing and neither did Sebastian [Vettel], and Sebastian and I messaged each other and he stressed as did I, the importance that we continue to do it.”
Hamilton continued: “Moving forward we need to speak to Formula One.
“They’ve got to do a better job, it was such a rush, us getting out of the car, running over, quickly doing the knee.
“They need to do more, I don’t know why they’ve only done it for the first race, they did the start, they’ve not done it since then.
“They’ve come out saying they’re going to be fighting for diversity and end racism but they’re not giving us the platform to continue that as it’s not rushed.
“I think they can give us more time, so I’ll probably send an email over the next couple of days, and try and co-ordinate with them.
“They do want to do it. I guess there’s not good enough communication.”
Hamilton later went on to say there is support for his message but it isn’t being taken seriously enough.
He continued: “There is definitely not enough support for it.
“From a drivers’ point of view, many seem to be of the opinion they have done it once and do not need to do it again.
“I don’t know their reason for that opinion.
“We are all members of the GPDA and that is run by three people and two for it and one who doesn’t think it is important to continue it.
“F1 did an OK job at the first race but it is not good enough when you see other sports. It is like it has gone off the agenda after that.
“It is lacking leadership. We are in a sport and there needs to be leadership from the top and currently there is none of that.
“I try not to lean on the drivers because I don’t want them to think it is because of me they are doing it.
“But I don’t think it has been taken seriously.
“People have not grown up with it and because of that, it does not affect them, but we are fighting for a change.
“I will get in touch with F1 this week and get in touch with [FIA President] Jean Todt, as no-one else is going to do it.
“My dream is that by the end of the year we all know and understand things better and we stand united and the whole of Formula One is on top of it.
“We have not made any progress. We have made gestures but we have not changed anything.
“It is about communication, so I will get back on a call with F1.
“I would love to know what Jean thinks and what [F1 CEO] Chase [Carey] thinks.
“But there is no progress yet. You need a leader, where is Jean in that scenario? It should not be me to call them out.
“It should come from the top down. The higher powers that pulls the strings.”
Hamilton is understandably upset. F1 had made much of it’s Race As One campaign, but without universal support, the message is lost.
At the Austrian GP, the season opener, there was an attempt at unity as all drivers wore the black T-shirts.
But while Hamilton, who has used his social media to promote the Black Lives Matter movement so well, has continued to press home the point, the message does not appear to be supported by his fellow drivers on the grid.
He added: “With the other drivers, there’s not a lot I can do.
“I gave a lot of energy in Austria to try and convince a couple of the drivers, and it’s a battle.
“But I think what’s important is the ones that are doing it, the understanding, is fantastic; my dream is that one day the other drivers come around to it.
“If we get to the last race and we’re all kneeling down and showing that we are united I think that would be beautiful.”
Did you miss our previous article…