Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton says he has been “completely overcome with rage” at the violence that has erupted in the wake of protests over racial injustice.
Hamilton – the only black driver in F1 history – was the first of the current grid to speak out about the protests following the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis last week, leading to a number of other drivers doing similar. In his first statement he said he feels he stands alone in the sport, and in a follow-up Instagram post the British driver says he is angered by some of the incidents he has seen in recent days.
“This past week has been so dark,” Hamilton said. “I have failed to keep hold of my emotions. I have felt so much anger, sadness and disbelief in what my eyes have seen. I am completely overcome with rage at the sight of such blatant disregard for the lives of our people. The injustice that we are seeing our brothers and sisters face all over the world time and time again is disgusting, and MUST stop.
“So many people seem surprised, but to us unfortunately, it is not surprising. Those of us who are black, brown or in between, see it everyday and should not have to feel as though we were born guilty, don’t belong, or fear for our lives based on the color of our skin. Will Smith said it best, racism is not getting worse, it’s being filmed. Only now that the world is so well equipped with cameras has this issue been able to come to light in such a big way.
“It is only when there are riots and screams for justice that the powers that be cave in and do something, but by then it is far too late and not enough has been done. It took hundreds of thousands of peoples complaints and buildings to burn before officials reacted and decided to arrest Derek Chauvin for murder, and that is sad.
“Unfortunately, America is not the only place where racism lives and we continue to fail as humans when we cannot stand up for what is right. Please do not sit in silence, no matter the color of your skin. Black Lives Matter.”
Hamilton’s criticism of F1’s “biggest stars” on Sunday night came before a number of drivers also took a stand, but the sport itself offered its first statement on Tuesday evening following a day communicating the new 2020 calendar.
“We stand with you, and all people in the fight against racism,” an F1 post on Twitter read. “It is an evil that no sport or society is truly immune from. And it is only together we can oppose it and eradicate it. Together we are stronger.”