After finishing fourth, Hamilton spoke of a conversation he had had years ago with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Kaepernick, whose kneeling protests in 2016 became a symbol of wrestling against racial injustice.
“He sat down for the national anthem and had a lot of backlash – I thought it was a really powerful statement he had made and he lost his job,” said the Briton.
“I actually spoke to him a few years ago shortly after for the United States Grand Prix and I had a helmet and all in red with his number on the top. ”
“But at the time, I was rather silent, I was told to back off, don’t support him. What I will say I regret. So it was important for me to make sure that during this time my game. ”
Hamilton, the first and only black F1 driver, did not reveal who told him not to kneel.
The Briton wore a different T-shirt from the 20 other pilots on Sunday, reading “Black Lives Matter” on the front instead of “End Racism”.
“Whether it continues to take the knee, I don’t know there will be opportunities to do it. I certainly don’t want to do it on the national anthems, ”he said.
Hamilton also described “taking a knee” before the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday as an emotional and poignant chapter in his battle to make F1 a more inclusive sport.
Max Verstappen of Red Bull and Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc were among the six who chose to show up moments before Sunday’s race. The two posted messages saying they were committed to the fight for equality.
“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,” said Hamilton.
“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 poignant chapter in the progress made to make F1 a more diverse and inclusive sport.
“I want a better future for our generation and those who will follow 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. “