Qualifying had a familiar air as Formula One got back on track for the opening race of the delayed season at the Austrian Grand Prix. Mercedes locked out the front row, with Valtteri Bottas edging out his team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, to pole.
Britain’s reigning world champion was happy with his performance but less so with the lack of a united front in support of the anti-racism cause he has been vigorously pursuing of late. After qualifying, Hamilton revealed his disappointment at what he described as “complicit silence” from some of his fellow drivers.
Hamilton has been vocal and active in his support of Black Lives Matter and discussion has raged at the Red Bull Ring over whether drivers will take the knee before the race.
Some may choose to do so, although it is understood there are misgivings about making the gesture because of the political nature of the movement. After a meeting of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association on Friday it was agreed all 20 would wear “End Racism” T-shirts, but Hamilton revealed he had hoped more drivers would speak out.
“In the meeting I said thank you to those who have said something on social media because they have a great voice, a great platform and encouraging the others that haven’t to say something,” he said. “I described the scenario that silence is generally complicit. There still is some silence in some cases. But it is part of a dialogue of people trying to understand. There are still people who don’t fully understand what is happening and the reasons for these protests.”