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F1 drivers split over anthem kneeling, how to fight racism: 'Silence is generally complicit'

F1 drivers split over anthem kneeling, how to fight racism: 'Silence is generally complicit' 1

Not everyone was on board with Formula 1’s plan to kneel during the Austrian national anthem during the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Six of the competition’s 20 drivers declined the gesture, which was meant to support the Black Lives Matter movement and promote racial equality.

Lewis Hamilton, the lone Black driver currently in the circuit, was one of the leaders in the push to kneel. Hamilton and fellow Mercedes driver Valtarri Bottas also raced in all-black vehicles.

Hamilton had previously said “silence is generally complicit” when it comes to fighting racism in general and encouraged drivers to speak out on their own platforms.

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Several explanations were given by drivers who opted not to kneel, most involving discomfort in how the gesture would be received.

“I think there was some difficulty with some drivers and their nationality and what something like taking a knee would represent,” said Daniel Ricciardo. “The reasons why we will do is purely to support Black Lives Matter, it’s got nothing political or anything else, but there is a little bit of a fine line with some drivers and their nationalities and how it is perceived.”

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