Lewis Hamilton has criticised the Formula 1 community for “staying silent” following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
On his Instagram, the six-time champion said he is “one of the only people of colour yet I stand alone”.
Mr Floyd died last Monday after white police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes as the 46-year-old pleaded: “I can’t breathe”.
Image: Other F1 drivers have responded publicly after Hamilton’s criticism
His death has sparked mass protests across the US, with governors in several states calling in National Guard troops in an attempt to maintain order, and demonstrations outside the White House saw Donald Trump rushed into a bunker by the Secret Service.
Several sports stars have called for action to be taken, including England winger Jadon Sancho, who revealed a message on his shirt calling for “justice” after scoring for Borussia Dortmund on Sunday.
Hamilton, the first and only black F1 world champion, has criticised others in the sport for failing to speak up on the issue.
“I see those of you who are staying silent, some of you the biggest of stars yet you stay silent in the midst of injustice,” he wrote on Instagram.
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The Mercedes driver continued: “Not a sign from anybody in my industry, which of course is a white-dominated sport. I’m one of the only people of colour there yet I stand alone.
“I would have thought by now you would see why this happens and say something about it but you can’t stand alongside us. Just know I know who you are and I see you.”
Image: Lewis Hamilton claimed on Instagram that fellow F1 drivers were ‘staying silent’
In a second post, he added: “I do not stand with those looting and burning buildings but those who are protesting peacefully. There can be no peace until our so-called leaders make change.”
Since Hamilton’s post, a number of other F1 drivers have responded publicly.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc tweeted: “To be completely honest, I felt out of place and uncomfortable sharing my thoughts on social media about the whole situation and this is why I haven’t express myself earlier than today. And I was completely wrong.
#BLACKLIVESMATTERTo be completly honest, I felt out of place and uncomfortable sharing my thoughts on social media about the whole situation and this is why I haven’t express myself earlier than today.And I was completely wrong. 1/3
— Charles Leclerc (@Charles_Leclerc) May 31, 2020
“I still struggle to find the words to describe the atrocity of some videos I’ve seen on the internet. Racism needs to be met with actions, not silence.
“Please be actively participating, engaging and encouraging others to spread awareness. It is our responsibilities to speak out against injustice. Don’t remain silent. I stand #BlackLivesMatters.”
Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo, who will cross to McLaren at the end of the season, said Mr Floyd’s death was “a disgrace”, and called for unity against racism.
On his Instagram, the Australian wrote: “Racism is toxic and needs to be addressed not with violence or silence but with unity and action.”
McLaren driver Lando Norris shared the hashtag #blacklivesmatter on his social media accounts, and Sergio Perez has also been sharing videos of support on Twitter.
Canadian Nicholas Latifi, who is due to drive for Williams this season, tweeted: “This has to stop”, and included the hashtag #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd.
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Over the weekend, the protests across America spread to Europe, as thousands of people gathered in central London and made their way to the US Embassy.
Chauvin, who has been sacked, has now been charged with third-degree murder.
Three other officers were also fired, but have yet to be charged.
Source : Sky News