Hamilton Takes Knee in Support of BLM, Wins Styrian Grand Prix

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Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton cruised to a comfortable victory in the Styrian Grand Prix yesterday.

The world champion’s first victory of the year was founded on a stupendous performance in wet qualifying, in which he took pole by more than 1.2 seconds.

Hamilton led from pole position, headed only at the pit-stops, as team-mate Valtteri Bottas overtook Red Bull’s Max Verstappen late on for second.

The Ferraris retired early after colliding with each other on lap one.

It was another dark day for the Italian team, after an uncompetitive showing in qualifying, as Charles Leclerc apologised for a rash move on the first lap that took out both cars.

Hamilton led the majority of drivers in taking the knee ahead of the race – and then raised his fist in a black-power salute twice after the race, as he stood on the front of his car with his helmet still on, and again on the podium.

The drivers’ pre-race anti-racism protest was not as well co-ordinated as it had been at the same track for the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix last weekend, but the message was clear.

A handful of drivers were not present for the moment ahead of the playing of the Styrian regional anthem, but all who were wore “end racism” T-shirts other than Hamilton’s, whose said “Black Lives Matter”.

Of those who were there, only Charles Leclerc, Verstappen, Kimi Raikkonen and Daniil Kvyat chose not to kneel.

Hamilton, who has pledged to continue the fight against racism this year in parallel with his quest for a record-equalling seventh world title, was in total control of the race from the start.

He converted his pole position into a lead at the first corner, survived an early safety car period following a collision between the two Ferrari drivers, and never looked back.

The fight was all behind him, as Mercedes sought to get Bottas ahead of Verstappen.