Lewis Hamilton; Black Power salute is something I’ll never forget

Munich duo inspired world champion
World Champion Lewis Hamilton during the drivers’ press conference in Budapest. Picture: xpbimages.com/AFPWorld Champion Lewis Hamilton during the drivers’ press conference in Budapest. Picture: xpbimages.com/AFP
World Champion Lewis Hamilton during the drivers’ press conference in Budapest. Picture: xpbimages.com/AFP

Lewis Hamilton has said performing the Black Power salute after winning last weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix was a moment he will never forget.

After a dominant performance at Spielberg’s Red Bull Ring, Hamilton stood on top of his black Mercedes car, clenched right fist in the air.

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Hamilton’s gesture was inspired by the African-American 200m runners Tommie Smith and John Carlos – who first performed the anti-racism gesture after taking gold and bronze respectively at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico.

Hamilton said: “I remember witnessing, seeing and reading about their experience and seeing the iconic image of their salute.

“That was inspiring for me. It felt like the right moment, an important moment for me, and I will never forget it.

“Racism is something that has been around for hundreds of years and currently continues. When you’ve got icons, people like that who’ve stood up against this battle, I just find it inspiring,” added the 35 year old ahead of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

“I took a page out of their book, realising that I have this platform, I have this opportunity to continue to raise awareness, try and unite people, and educate myself but also educate other people.”

Hamilton goes into the third race of the season in Hungary six points adrift of his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the drivers’ standings. He is aiming to win the race at the Hungaroring for an eighth time and third in succession.

Meanwhile, Lando Norris has revealed he flew back to the UK to see a specialist in a bid to prove his fitness for this weekend’s race.

The 20-year-old McLaren driver is third in the championship after an impressive start to the new season.

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But his last outing at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg was plagued by both chest and back pains.

After undergoing a series of scans in London, he arrived in Budapest on Wednesday evening for the final round of three successive races.

Norris said: “I went back to the UK, staying in my bubble, to see a specialist for a scan.

“We diagnosed the problem and I’m feeling better for this week, which is a very good thing. It was bruising from being out of the F1 car for so long – and then getting back into it, straight into a race weekend, and doing so many laps. It’s not something that is going to heal completely overnight, but I’m much better than last weekend.

“I couldn’t really prepare for or know about it until after we did the first race because it hit my body a few days later and I was a bit bruised.”

Norris was on painkillers for the Styrian Grand Prix but drove to fifth from ninth on the grid – passing three cars on the final two laps.

His performance came a week after he finished third in the season opener at the same venue, eclipsing Lewis Hamilton as the youngest British driver to stand on a grand prix podium.

Norris’ British compatriot George Russell, meanwhile, will stay at Williams for a third season.

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Russell, 22, is on the books at Mercedes as a junior driver and, while the Silver Arrows are yet to confirm their line-up for 2021, it seems likely that they will retain Bottas alongside Hamilton.

“I signed a three-year deal with Williams and I will be staying for 2021 to build off last year and this,” said Russell.

“[Deputy team principal] Claire Williams was very firm in her decision that she was not ready to let me go.

“I will be giving everything for Williams and we will see what happens after that.”

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