LEWIS HAMILTON will continue to fight for racial equality – despite failing to get universal support from his F1 rivals.
The world champion took a knee and wore a Black Lives Matter t-shirt ahead of the Austrian GP.
He was joined by 14 others, yet six drivers on the grid remained standing.
But Hamilton hit back at claims he was trying to force the movement on his fellow drivers – saying he never put pressure on them to follow his example.
Hamilton, who has used his social media to push for increased diversity and an end to racism, said: “It is great that Formula One and Mercedes have taken note of the issues we are facing across the world and decided to do something about it.
“Ultimately, we all need to do more. There has been awareness for a few weeks and what we don’t need is for it to die a silent death and disappear and see no change.
“I could be the guinea pig. I have to keep speaking out and going back to it, all of us, myself included, have to look at accountability and do more.
“I am aware of some opinions of some drivers but ultimately nobody should be forced into a scenario where they have to kneel.
Ultimately, we all need to do more. There has been awareness for a few weeks and what we don’t need is for it to die a silent death and disappear and see no change.
“I never requested or demanded anybody to take the knee. I never brought it up.
“It was brought up by Formula One and the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association.
“I let everyone have their say and then I opened up to them and said ‘guys, I will be doing it but you do what you think is right’.
“I am really grateful to those who did kneel along with me. It is still a powerful message but ultimately whether you did or didn’t kneel, it is not going to change the world.
“It is a much bigger issue across the world but for me personally, everyone had their own personal choice.”
Taking a knee started with American Football star Colin Kaepernick, who protested against police brutality in the USA.
Went down to Hyde Park today for the peaceful protest and I was so proud to see in person so many people of all races and backgrounds supporting this movement. I was proud to be out there acknowledging and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, and my black heritage. I was so happy to see people of all ages, sporting Black Lives Matter signs and saying it just as passionately as I was. I was also happy to see so many white supporters out there today in the name of equality for all. It was really moving. I’m feeling extremely positive that change will come, but we cannot stop now. Keep pushing. #blacklivesmatter ✊🏾 📸 @spinzbeatsinc
The San Francisco 49ers quarterback sat during the National Anthem in 2016 and was subsequently sacked.
Hamilton revealed that he caught up with Kaepernick and planned to copy his lead but was persuaded not to do it at the 2017 United States GP – a decision he now regrets.
He added: “This all started with Colin Kapernick in the NFL. He sat down for the National Anthem and he got a lot of backlash.
“He spoke to someone who advised him to take the knee. I thought it was a really powerful statement that he made and he lost his job.
“He never got it back and he was a great athlete.
“I spoke to him a couple of years ago shortly after that and I had a helmet made in red, the colour of his shirt, with his number on top.
“But back then I was told to stay silent and I backed down and didn’t support it, which I actually regret.
“So it was important for me that during this period of time, I did my part.
“I will not take a knee during National Anthems, but in the background I will continue to support and improve my education on the situation and hopefully encourage others.
“I really don’t want it to feel like people are being forced. I want to encourage them to be excited about change.”