Lewis Hamilton says he needs to be more 'diplomatic' in racism fight

F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton admits he might have been wrong to ’embarrass people’ by calling out the sport’s big names in his fight against racism – and now realises he needs to be more ‘diplomatic’

  • Lewis Hamilton admits he was wrong to ’embarrass people’ in his racism fight
  • The F1 world champion now knows he must deploy diplomacy to help his cause
  • Mercedes driver was extremely outspoken in his views on the topic last season
  • He wore a T-shirt with the message ‘Actions speak louder than words’ last week
  • The 36-year-old narrowly won last week’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix 

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has admitted he may have been wrong ’embarrassing people’ by calling out his fellow drivers in the fight against racism but now knows he must deploy diplomacy instead.

The Mercedes driver was extremely outspoken in his views last season – demanding Formula One and its governing body, the FIA, do more to tackle inequality within the sport. 

He also called out his fellow drivers for remaining silent on social media after the death of George Floyd, while singling out Romain Grosjean, former director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, for failing to convince the grid to be united on the subject of taking a knee. 

Lewis Hamilton has backed F1’s move to allow drivers to make their own gestures to support 

Half of the 20 stars remained standing on a banner reading ‘We Race As One’ in Bahrain 

Hamilton says he will continue to perform the gesture ahead of races this season, and last weekend in Bahrain he was joined by a number of drivers, while others elected to stand.

Hamilton also wore a T-shirt with the message ‘Actions speak louder than words’ before the race in the gulf kingdom.

He went on to make the perfect start to his title defence, narrowly edging Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to victory in a thrilling season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.  

‘At the beginning of the year I was very outspoken and calling out the sport,’ Hamilton said in an interview with WIRED UK. 

‘At the time that was the right thing for me, but I discovered that there’s times where you have to be very diplomatic, where there’s more you can do by discussions in the background, rather than embarrassing people.

‘I’m having conversations, trying to hold people in the sport more accountable.

‘I’m constantly sending emails, I’m constantly on Zoom calls with Formula One and challenging them like they wouldn’t want to be challenged.’

Hamilton made the ideal start to his title defence last weekend, winning the Bahrain Grand Prix

Hamilton also said retiring from F1 would have little impact on the sport’s environmental issues

The 36-year-old also revealed he refuses to join the raft of athletes seeking help from a sport psychologist because he doesn’t ‘like the idea of someone trying to mess with his mind’.  

‘I don’t like the idea of someone trying to mess with my mind, because I’m strong,’ he added.

‘I know I’m strong enough and capable enough. I’ve done it my whole life.’ 

Hamilton, an avid environmentalist, also said retiring from F1 – among the least eco-friendly sports in the world – would have little impact.

Hamilton said: ‘What are my options? I could quit. The positives of that are that I won’t be driving a car around 20 different tracks, we’ll be flying less.

‘But the fact is if I stop, the thing will keep going. They’re not going to stop for me.’

Hamilton will next be in action in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola, Italy on April 18. 

See the full feature in the May/June issue of WIRED UK available on newsstands, via digital download now or here.

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