Lewis Hamilton racism
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Lewis Hamilton demands more support of F1, drivers in racism fight

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BUDAPEST, Hungary — Lewis Hamilton demanded more support from Formula One’s governing body and urged other drivers to make more of an effort in the fight against racism.

Some drivers took a knee and others again did not in disorganized scenes before Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

As in the previous two races this season, all drivers were supposed to gather before the national anthem to stand while wearing “End Racism” T-shirts. Hamilton and others, such as his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, took a knee while others appeared to be hurriedly arriving late and not in position.

It meant that before the drivers were all gathered together as one, the anthem had started, and Hamilton and those kneeling quickly had to stand up out of respect for the host country.

“There definitely is not enough support for it. From a driver’s point of view, well, many people seem to be of the opinion they’ve done (taken a knee) once and (are) not going to do it again. I don’t know their reasons for that opinion,” Hamilton said after winning the race. “All I could say is we’re not doing nearly enough. I think ultimately it’s still individuals thinking it’s not important.”

Hamilton also posted a statement on social media about the disorganized effort at Hungary and wrote it “massively lacked effort.”

Hamilton is a six-time series champion and the only Black driver in F1. He has been an active voice on social this year, joining a Black Lives Matter march in London and forming a panel to build diversity in Formula One. His Mercedes team decided to compete in an all-black car this season – instead of the usual silver – as a statement against racism.

Hamilton has said “so-called leaders” in F1 need to do more to address racial strife and called out fellow drivers for being silent before F1 returned for its season opener in Austria two weeks ago.

“I don’t think it’s being taken serious,” the British driver said Sunday after his victory. “I think there are perhaps people who have not grown up around (the issue of racism) and don’t understand it.”

But ultimately Hamilton says it’s down to F1’s governing body, the FIA, and F1 to show more assertive leadership in the way soccer leagues in England and Germany have done – as well as the England and West Indies cricket teams – with all players united in taking a knee against racism before games.

“It’s not good enough, in terms of what you see in other sports. It’s almost like it’s gone off the agenda,” Hamilton said. “It’s lacking leadership and ultimately there needs to be leadership from the top. Currently there is none of that.”

Hamilton pledged to personally contact FIA president Jean Todt this week to seek an improvement in the way the anti-racism message is being coordinated at the very top.

Todt was present at Sunday’s race.

“I will get in touch with Formula One this week, I will speak to Jean because no one else is going to do it,” Hamilton said. “I think we need a leader. Where is Jean in that scenario?”

Hamilton, who has previously called out other teams for not doing enough to send a strong message out against racism, does not think it should be only left to him to keep pushing others.

“It shouldn’t be for me to have to call the teams (and) say `Hey, what are you doing? What’s your plan?”‘ Hamilton said. “That should be announced or discussed from the top down, that should be coming from the higher powers that control (the sport) and pull the strings.”

Sergio Perez still has coronavirus; will miss second consecutive F1 race

F1 Sergio Perez out
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SILVERSTONE, England — Sergio Perez will be out for a second F1 race at Silverstone this week after again testing positive for the coronavirus.

The Mexican driver had hoped to return to Formula One after spending seven days in quarantine, but his Racing Point team said this morning he had tested positive.

“He is physically well and recovering,” the team said. “The whole team wishes Sergio and his family well and we look forward to his return.”

That means German veteran Nico Hulkenberg again fills in for Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix after having also replaced Sergio Perez when he was out for the F1 British Grand Prix at the same venue last week. Hulkenberg did not start that race because of an engine problem.

There are two consecutive weekends of racing at Silverstone as Formula One tries to pack in races following the pandemic-delayed start to the season.

Perez became the first Formula One driver to test positive for coronavirus, and it had been unclear whether he would be available to drive after the period of quarantine was extended to 10 days.

Racing Point also was in the news Friday after being hit with a 15-point penalty in the Formula One constructors’ championship and fined 400,000 euros ($470,000) Friday for using brake ducts based on those from last year’s Mercedes cars.

The stewards ruled that Mercedes was the “principal designer” of the parts, and that Racing Point made only minor changes to computer design data it received from Mercedes.

Rival team Renault filed protests about the legality of the brake ducts, which were added to the “listed parts” under F1 rules for 2020. That means teams must design their own. Racing Point argued it was merely using information about the Mercedes parts to inform its own design.

Racing Point uses customer engines from Mercedes and has admitted basing its 2020 car design on photographs of last year’s Mercedes car. The similarities led to the Racing Point being nicknamed the “pink Mercedes” when it was first seen in testing ahead of the season.

Racing Point can appeal the ruling. The points deduction drops the team from fifth to sixth in the standings, below Renault. The ruling doesn’t affect the points totals for Racing Point’s drivers.