Hamilton feels responsibility to push for more F1 diversity

Six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton spoke about the wounds from the racism he has endured during his life.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton is Formula One's first black champion.   -  Getty Images

Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton feels it’s his responsibility as a global star to keep pushing for more diversity in his profession and beyond.

"I’ve got a platform and I think it would be irresponsible of me not to utilize that to help educate people, to help educate myself and really push for accountability,” Hamilton said on Thursday in a video released by his team. “Within all the brands I work with, within the industry I work with.”

"Because we are the world champions, we are the best team and we need to shine our light as best as possible to encourage the other teams to want to do the same,” Hamilton said. “The sport needs to do more, (governing body) FIA need to do more. We all need to do more.”

F1 drivers are discussing whether to take the knee together on the grid before Sunday’s race in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, as football players have been doing.

After Floyd’s death, Hamilton spoke of his “anger, sadness and disbelief.”

Wounds from the racism he has endured resurfaced.

"When this all kicked off it really struck a nerve and a chord, brought a lot of emotion up from my personal experiences,” he said. “I experienced a lot of racism growing up, both at school and in my local area. Then on the race (driving) scene particularly being that my Dad and I were the only people of color there.”

READ: Hamilton says 'silence' criticism was not aimed at F1 rivals

Things were not better elsewhere in Europe.

"When I got to Italy, when I got to Belgium - which was one of my first European races - I experienced the same thing. When I was in France (as well),” Hamilton said. “That was definitely a very, very difficult thing. ... You don’t understand when you’re young why things are thrown at you, why things have been shouted at you.”

"People perceived that I was targeting drivers, I really wasn’t. It was targeted at the whole industry,” Hamilton said. “People being silent is something I’ve experienced for such a long time, and now is not the time to be silent. This is a time to help spread the message. We need as many voices as we can to push for change.”

"It is an expensive sport and I think that’s definitely an underlying factor. The truth is that the opportunity is not the same, not only from the drivers point of view but also the engineers,” he said. “I’ve been working with Mercedes since I was 13. I’ve also been in Formula One for 14 years and I’ve hardly seen any change. That upsets me.”

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