Five of the six Formula 1 drivers who decided not to kneel during the competition's organised stand against racism and discrimination have explained their stance.

All 20 of the competing drivers wore T-shirts featuring the message 'End Racism' as they gathered on the grid ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix last weekend before 14 of those drivers also decided to kneel as a further gesture of support.

The public show was co-ordinated by F1 and the Grand Prix Drivers' Association and, while drivers were encouraged to show support in their own way, the result was that F1 failed to display the collective support seen in other sports such as the Premier League.

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Lewis Hamilton, whose T-shirt also included 'Black Lives Matter' on the front, told Sky Sports that the competition's stand was a "step in the right direction" but that it still had work to do.

"I've never said whether or not I was disappointed at the other guys, but we do need to look at these other sports who ultimately have done a better job in showing their unanimous united front.

"I'm so impressed with what football's done, I'm really impressed with how Nascar, for example, was one of the first sports to come out to immediately react and hold themselves accountable. We've got to do more, being that we're such a global sport. It is a step in the right direction but there's no reason why we should be different to a sport like football, which is the biggest sport in the world."

Meanwhile, five of the six drivers who decided not to take a knee have now made public statements explaining their decision.

Both Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen gave notice ahead of the event to their social media followers that they would not be kneeling.

"I believe that what matters are facts and behaviours in our daily life rather than formal gestures that could be seen as controversial in some countries. I will not take the knee but this does not mean at all that I am less committed than others in the fight against racism," read a post from Leclerc on Twitter.

"I am very committed to equality and the fight against racism. But I believe everyone has the right to express themself [sic] at a time and in a way that suits them. I will not take the knee today but respect and support the personal choices every driver makes," Verstappen similarly wrote on Twitter.

Leclerc doubled down on his stance when speaking to Sky Sports after the race.


"Formula 1 left us the choice to express ourselves in the way we wanted. We all went [to the front of the grid] and it was clearly written on our shirt to end racism, which is the main message we want to pass through.

"Anybody is free to express it the way we want and that's what I did, I wanted to stand. I bowed my head to respect this, and yes I'm completely against racism.

"I've seen a few things on social media, honestly, that disgust me, to judge someone racist just because he didn't take the knee for me is not right and it's definitely not me. But I wanted to do it that way."

Russian driver Daniil Kvyat was another of the drivers who did not take the knee and he explained to Sky Sports: "I am really against racism and we as a group of drivers decided that a very strong message would be wearing the T-shirts stating 'End Racism'. I think that kind of message was very strong and it got delivered to everyone.

"Unfortunately, the gesture of going on the knee is against my mentality of my country where you only go on the knees in front of God, your flag and that's about it."

Drivers take their stand against racism. Photo / Photosport
Drivers take their stand against racism. Photo / Photosport

Kimi Raikkonen also didn't perform the gesture and told Sky Sports everyone has the right to make a personal choice.


"I think generally everyone has the right to do what they feel like," said Raikkonen.

"All the drivers are definitely against racism and we all had the shirts. I'm more than happy to help on these things but in the end every individual has a right to do how they feel most comfortable.

"F1 and all the teams are doing the best that they can so I think it's a bit crazy to question things but that's how the world is, unfortunately."

Carlos Sainz Jr said he felt that the gesture made by the drivers was strong enough without them all kneeling.

"We showed on Sunday how strong we all feel against racism. I felt like that was enough," Sainz Jr. told The Washington Post.

The only driver yet to publicly make a statement is Italian Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi, though a post on Instagram ahead of the event showed his explicit support for the Black Lives Matter movement.