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Sport

Hamilton continues to take a knee before F1 opener

Formula One F1 - Bahrain Grand Prix - Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain - March 25, 2021 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton during the press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS

(Reuters) - Mercedes’ seven-times Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton took a knee on the starting grid before Sunday’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix while wearing a black T-shirt declaring “Actions speak louder than words”.

The sport’s only Black driver, and an outspoken campaigner for racial equality, regularly made the gesture last season as Formula One drivers gathered together in a campaign against racism.

Formula One has broadened out the “We Race As One” ceremony this year to wider social and environmental issues.

Hamilton had said on Thursday that he planned to continue taking a knee to send a message to the younger generation.

“When (young children) see us take the knee, they will sit and ask their parents or their teachers ‘why are they doing that? What are they taking the knee for?’,” he had told reporters.

“And it sparks an uncomfortable conversation.

“It means parents have to educate themselves and the kids are getting educated.”

Formula One race director Michael Masi had clarified earlier on Sunday the pre-race procedures, stating that drivers could “wear any attire conveying a message in support of the principles of WeRaceAsOne”.

He said each driver could also mark the moment with a gesture of their own choice.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Ed Osmond

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