Seventh title 'would mean more' for Hamilton as drivers plan taking knee

Spielberg (Austria) (AFP) –


Lewis Hamilton believes that a record-equalling seventh world title this year would mean more to him than any other if it helps in his campaign for social justice and equality.

The six-time world champion, who can draw level with Michael Schumacher in the record books, told a controlled official video news conference ahead of this weekend's season-opening Austrian Grand Prix that he was seeking change for "our kids and our children's kids".

"Winning a title would mean more," he said.

"Being that it is such a momentous year in the sense that you've got this pandemic, which is still very much in and that we're fighting.

"Then, also, on a personal level, the Black Lives Matter movement and the fight for justice and equality, to be fighting for something so important.

"It's not going to change really in our time, for our generation, but for our kids and our children's kids, it's such an important thing for us.

"So, yes, winning the world title during that period of time I think would be even more important than before."

Hamilton, who has been an outspoken supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement since the death of George Floyd, said he expected the drivers to make a show of unity ahead of Sunday's race.

The drivers are expected to discuss possibly taking a knee during a meeting on Friday evening, a move supported by many speaking at the Red Bull Ring circuit on Thursday.

Hamilton and Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas will be wearing black overalls and driving black cars, carrying an 'End Racism' message, this season.

He has also launched his own commission into diversity in motorsport.

"It's going to be the first race. I think, already, as a team, we have shown quite a big acknowledgement of where we are in society today and that we are not standing still.

"We are moving ahead. It will be interesting to see if any other team is doing anything, but we will, I’'m sure, as drivers all stand to represent something."

He added, however, that kneeling on the grid had not occupied his thinking.

"It's not something that's been on top of my mind," he said.

"I've been asked the question multiple times and it's not really been a priority for me to have a plan to kneel at the start line. So we'll see.

"Whatever we do, we'll try to do it united. I think it's really important that we remain united, or we become united. I would say also in this sport. We really do have to fight for the injustices and the inequality."

Fellow drivers Romain Grosjean, Kevin Magnussen, George Russell, Lando Norris and Max Verstappen all spoke on Thursday in support of the anti-racism campaign and taking a knee on Sunday.

"It's right to do it and we are 100 per cent together to end racism in the sport," said Grosjean.

Russell added: "We have to show support for wider issues than racing. I live for racing, but there are a lot of other things that matter."