Commentator calls for drivers to ‘get it together’ as they kneel again at Styrian Grand Prix

The historic Styrian Grand Prix has seen drivers once again taken a knee before the national anthem of Austria.

Led by Lewis Hamilton wearing a “Black Lives Matter” T-shirt while the other drivers wore “End Racism” shirts, the grid once again saw several drivers remaining standing while a majority of the grid took a knee.

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Hamilton, who also went from pole position to the top of the podium also made a stand when collecting his winner’s trophy.

After the national anthem, the six-time world champion raised his fist in an allusion to Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Olympics.

Lewis Hamilton raises his fist after accepting his winner’s trophy.Source:FOX SPORTS

Sky Sports’ F1 host Simon Lazenby took a strong stance at the lack of unity in kneeling, which was a big story after last week’s race as several drivers ended up having to explain why they did or didn’t kneel.

It came after the furore after the first race with some believing it was a “bad look” during the Austrian Grand Prix last week.

“Lewis Hamilton leading the conversation on this and taking a knee again,” Lazenby said on Sky Sports. “He said he had no problem with any of the drivers and team members who decided against taking a knee but he did stress he doesn’t want to see this campaign for change die a silent death and the sport can do more.

“It’s a shame that they’ve gone off those pictures after people questioned the apparent lack of unity last week with some kneeling and some not, you’ve got to ask the question would it have been in the best interests in the image of this sport to get it together this week. That’s not a judgment, it’s for you to decide at home.

“The images still don’t seem to fit the message in this the most global of sports. If NASCAR, football and cricket can get it right, why can’t Formula One. That’s the question. From where I’m standing here, we have seen some taking an knee and some not, it’s just a mixed message.”

Some drivers were kneeling and some were standing again.Source:Getty Images

Lazenby also asked fellow commentator and former world champion Jenson Button about his thoughts on the kneeling issue.

“I think as an image, yes, I agree, it doesn’t look so good with some standing and some kneeling but the important thing to me is what they have to say about ending racism, they all agree,” he said. “I think we as Formula One have to be proactive in pushing forward and ending racism and we race as one. It can’t go quiet, we need to mention it every race, we need to not only be mentioning it, we need to be proactive in making change. I still don’t know how we go about that to help diversity in our sport as well. It’s something we all need to sit down and discuss and make change.

Haas’ Kevin Magnussen reportedly left during the national anthem as well as he appeared to forget his T-shirt with F1 journalist Chris Medland explaining he could get fined for “I assume not to seem unsupportive”.

Hamilton was pumped after his 85th F1 victory.Source:AFP

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said he and the team knelt but when asked after the race if they were sending mixed messages, he said we need to be “non-judgemental”.

“None of the drivers, even the ones who are standing, are racist, we need to respect everybody’s view,” he said. “I think where we come from is that being not a racist but staying silent is not enough but I don’t want to judge what people do because he might not know, he might not kneel but he might do some good stuff in the background.

“It’s not a one weekend PR stunt we haven’t painted the car black for one weekend. Some guys said ‘we kneeled last week’ but this is not over. This is just the beginning and it’s against racism it’s for more equality, more gender diversification and just continuing the momentum of that and that doesn’t stop with one weekend.”

Hamilton said he didn’t ask for the team to take a knee but it meant a lot.

“I think it’s a beautiful thing, it doesn’t take a lot to do, it’s not changing the world but perhaps shifting perceptions and shifting of ideals and we’ll just keep going,” he said post-race.

Former Indian F1 driver and Sky Sports analyst said he would have taken the knee but it’s every individal’s choice.

“I remember when I left India to come to the UK to race in Formula 3, my mum said to me being a racing driver shouldn’t just be about driving around and around in circles,” he said. “You need to use that profile you’re building to do something big in the world. We started a charity back in India to educate young children because that was a cause that needed big support in India and I think Lewis has taken this up as a cause that he wants to use his voice to support and I think the other 20 drivers and 10 team bosses and various other people with high profile in the paddock have the ability to drive change. Lewis is calling out for people that it’s not enough to be non-racist, he’s asking everyone to be actively anti-racist and actively pro-diversity and inclusion in the paddock.”

F1 champion and Sky Sports presenter Damon Hill praised the call of his colleagues’ strong stance on the lack of kneeling together.

“Very impressed that @SkySportsF1 was strong on the BLM driver support being disunified with regard to kneeling. Can a driver show full support for BLM / Anti Racism and not knee?” he tweeted.

Lewis Hamilton was leading the way again.Source:Getty Images

But the world coverage of the race was also slammed as the coverage cut from protest to a pretaped skydiving demonstration.

ITV2 presenter Melissa Nathoo took aim at the coverage cutting away from the kneeling.

“I do think the sport should show a united front, but kneeling or not is the decision of the drivers. However, cutting away at that moment was poor form and completely negates the message of the movement,” she wrote.

Mix of kneels and stands again before the anthem – but only a very brief glimpse of it on the world feed.

Hamilton wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt again. All others wearing shirts reading 'End Racism'#F1 #AustrianGP

Sorry @F1 cutting away so we don’t see those drivers not taking the knee with @LewisHamilton is disgusting. Do you really mean #WeRaceAsOne #BlackLivesMatter #EndRacism ? Seems like a hollow gesture right now. Mixed messages 👎🏽 @SkySportsF1 at least highlighting that. 👏🏼

To see the live feed from the #F1 grid cut away from showing any drivers taking/not taking a knee is not one bit helpful. Disappointing no matter how much @redbull is paying in sponsorship. #SkyF1 #AustrianGP #StyrainGP

@f1 decided to change the live feed from the drivers kneeling to a pre recorded clip of skydiving.


Proclaiming #WeRaceAsOne but not having the decency to show the clip of the drivers kneeling to show their support.

@F1 cutting away from drivers kneeling to show this Red Bull stunt on its TV coverage… and then doubling down with this tweet.

Assuming a sack of 💰 involved here?!

Mealy mouthed apology being drafted as we speak.

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