“I am not racist”- Charles Leclerc has given a clarification after criticism from some quarters because of not ‘taking a knee’.
Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton has been campaigning for ‘taking a knee’ by all drivers before the start of races this season. This is to show solidarity and support for the cause of diversity in motorsports and in public life.
But not all drivers have taken a liking to this initiative by Hamilton, including Charles Leclerc. The Ferrari driver did not ‘take a knee’ prior to the start of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Speaking to La Gazzetta Dello Sport, he clarified that he fully supports the cause of diversity, and is against racism. But that he did not kneel because the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement has been frequently associated with violence. He also added the politicizing of the issue as another reason why he decided against ‘taking a knee’.
“I’m against racism, I’m fighting it and I’m glad Formula 1 is using its platform to show the world what the right way is. But I did not want to do that (kneel) because many protests that have been all over the world are associated with cases of violence and I do not accept any form of violence”.
“I don’t even like that a political protest is used by politics.”
And there it is. He is refusing to kneel because of the politicization and the “violence” of the protests and BLM movement. This really really hurts coming for Charles, I expected and hoped for better. https://t.co/W4gESq0M0s
— Parker (@Chimpay_) August 6, 2020
Leclerc even went onto the social media to clarify his thoughts and claimed he is not racist and pinpoints on that his words and actions are being manipulated.
It is very sad to see how some people manipulate my words to make headlines making me sound like a racist.
I am not racist and I absolutly hate racism. Racism is disgusting. 1/3
— Charles Leclerc (@Charles_Leclerc) August 6, 2020
Leclerc speaks highly of Hamilton
Leclerc went on to speak well of Lewis Hamilton, though, for his initiative. He also called him one of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport.
“I don’t think we can take anything away from Lewis. In my opinion, he is one of the greatest drivers in F1 history and he is doing a great job.
“He is always one hundred per cent and mentally very strong. The combination with Mercedes makes it very difficult to compete with them at the moment,” he concludes.