Lewis Hamilton has countered the critics suggesting he has lost focus on this season's bid for a record-breaking seventh F1 world title with his stance against racism.
In the build-up to the weekend's season-opening race in Austria, Hamilton became heavily involved in the 'Black Lives Matter' campaign, notably voicing strong views via his social media channels and taking part in a march in Hyde Park.
Immediately prior to the start of the race, Hamilton and 13 other drivers took a knee, a symbolic anti-racism gesture. While six opted against, they at least sported t-shirts with the words 'End Racism'.
The fact Hamilton then became involved in another on-track skirmish with Red Bull's Alex Albon that resulted in a five-second penalty has led some to suggest his mind is not on the job of equalling Michael Schumacher's all-time record so far this year.
“I don’t feel like I need to refocus,” opposed Hamilton when asked if he needed to take such an action.
“If you watch the race you will see that my race was pretty strong. I do naturally need to do a better job over the weekend but I wouldn’t say I was distracted by any means.
“I continue to stay focused as I was before. Still focused on both trying to fight and win this championship but also fighting for equal rights.”
As to whether Hamilton again takes a knee prior to this weekend's second race at the Red Bull Ring, the Styrian Grand Prix, the 35-year-old has confirmed he will do so if there is an opportunity.
“This weekend I don’t believe we have that position ahead of the national anthem, whether we have the space and the time to utilise the moment and make a stand,” remarked Hamilton.
“I don’t believe that’s there now, so we will probably go to the national anthem, and it’s not my goal to take a knee during the national anthem.
“It’s just about time and there’s not a lot of time before the race. I’m not against taking the knee again, so if I can find a way of making sure it doesn’t get in the way of us doing our job, then I will.”
Before you go...
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