Daniel Ricciardo defended the decision made by six Formula 1 drivers who refused to kneel at a Black Lives Matter anti-racism demonstration.
Ferrari driver Charles LeClerc of Monaco, Max Verstappen of the Red Bull of the Netherlands and the 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen of Finland, were among those who refused to kneel, moments before the opening of the season of Austrian Grand Prix.
Australian driver Renault Ricciardo, who was one of 14 drivers including Lewis Hamilton to take a knee, said that all drivers support the movement to end racism.
A number of pilots have chosen not to kneel to support the Black Lives Matter before the race
Daniel Ricciardo explained why some of his colleagues have chosen to kneel
The six who did not kneel
Antonio Giovinazzi – Alfa Romeo (Italy)
Daniil Kvyat – Scuderia AlphaTauri (Russia)
Charles LeClerc – Ferrari (Monaco)
Kimi Raikkonen – Alfa Romeo (Finlande)
Carlos Sainz – McLaren (Spain)
Max Verstappen – Red Bull (Pays-Bas)
As Yahoo Sport reported, Ricciardo said, “I just think there was a bit of trouble with some drivers and their nationality, and what it would be like taking a knee.
“Obviously, the reasons we would do it is only to support Black Lives Matter.
“It’s not for political or other reasons … We all understood that we will do what we want.”
“But no one will be judged or criticized for not standing there in a certain way or kneeling. “
McLaren’s Spaniard Carlos Sainz, AlphaTauri Daniil Kvyat of Russia and Alfa Romeo’s Italian Antonio Giovinazzi were not on their knees.
Before the eventful race won by Valterri Bottas, LeClerc announced Sunday morning that he would not take a knee.
“The 20 drivers are united with their teams against racism and prejudice, while adopting the principles of diversity, equality and inclusion, supporting the commitment of Formula 1 and the FIA”, LeClerc said on Twitter.
“I believe that what matters is the facts and the behaviors in our daily life rather than the formal gestures which could be considered controversial in certain countries. I will not take the knee but that does not at all mean that I am less committed than the others in the fight against racism.
Verstappen, who retired from the Grand Prix, also tweeted: “I am very committed to equality and the fight against racism. But I believe that everyone has the right to express themselves at a time and in a manner that suits them. I won’t take my knee today, but I respect and support the personal choices that each driver makes #WeRaceAsOne #EndRacism
LeClerc finished second behind Bottas at the start of the season, with British driver McLaren Lando Norris taking his first podium in third position, ahead of Hamilton who received a penalty following a collision with Alex Albon of Red Bull.
After the race, LeClerc held a t-shirt with the slogan “End Racism” with Norris and Bottas after the podium ceremony.
Charles LeClerc said this gesture could be considered “controversial” in some countries
The opening of the season was won by Valterri Bottas ahead of LeClerc and Lando Norris of McLaren
It has been reported that some drivers felt that Hamilton was putting undue pressure on them to prove their anti-racism credentials. The six-time world champion previously said that “silence is complicity”.
Hamilton, who is the only black driver on the grid, has been one of the strongest voices on the issue of institutionalized racism and unequal opportunity in sport.
The reigning world champion was supported by his team, who has promised to launch a new program to increase diversity within his own workforce and will also be running a new all-black livery on the car for the 2020 season. as a declaration of commitment. .
Max Verstappen did not take the knee but engaged in the fight against racism
After the race, Hamilton said, “Awareness has been raised in the past few weeks. We don’t need it to die a silent death without change.
“I can be the guinea pig and keep talking. But no one should be forced into a scenario where they have to kneel.
“I am truly grateful to those who did it with me. It’s a powerful message, but whether you kneel or not, it won’t change the world. It is a bigger problem than that.
“Everyone was entitled to this choice and for me, kneeling was the right thing. “
All the pilots wore “End Racism” t-shirts on the grid before the national anthem, while the FIA, the sport’s governing body, promised on Sunday nearly a million pounds to fight racism.
Lewis Hamilton said he was grateful to those who joined him for taking a knee before the race
Hamilton said last month that he had been frustrated with “those of you who remain silent” in the sport, something he developed before this weekend’s race.
“I described the scenario where silence is generally generally complicit. There is some silence in some cases, ”said Hamilton.
“But I think this is part of a dialogue of people trying to understand, because there are still people who do not fully understand what is happening and what is the reason for these protests and I continue to try to ‘Be this guide and try to influence as many people as possible with it.
Hamilton tweeted after the race, “Today has been an important moment for me and for all those who work and hope for a change. For a fairer and more just society.
Hamilton tweeted after the race that “this fight is about equality, not politics or promotion”
“I can be criticized in the media and elsewhere, but this fight concerns equality, not politics or promotion. For me, it was a moving and moving chapter in the progression of F1 towards a more diverse and inclusive sport.
“I want a better future for our generation and for us. There is so much to do.
“No one is perfect, but if we all participate and do our part, we can see the change. I really believe it.
“Thank you to my team for their incredible support and hard work this weekend and thank you to everyone who supported. Let’s keep pushing, guys. See you next week. Love. #EndRacism #BlackLivesMatter ‘