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.”

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.