Austria Grand Prix: Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc refuse to take the knee ahead of race

  • Alex Batt

In what has been heavily discussed over the past week, several Formula One drivers today refused to take the knee ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix, including Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.

The Black Livers Matter movement has been humungous ever since American citizen George Floyd was killed by police, with one officer kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

Ever since that incident, we have seen signs of solidarity in sports around the world.

In football, both teams and all officials have taken the knee before kick-off, and they even wore 'Black Lives Matter' on the back of their shirts for the first gameweek back after lockdown.

The sign of solidarity was then discussed for Formula 1 and their first race back since lockdown, which takes place today in Austria. In the week, Lewis Hamilton was desperate for his peers to take the knee, but it seems like not all were prepared to do so.

A couple of hours before the race, Ferrari starlet Leclerc took to his official Twitter account to say why he WOULDN'T be taking the knee.

He posted: "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."

However, the youngster did don a t-shirt which read 'End racism', as can be seen in the image below.


Another who tweeted about not taking the knee before the race was Max Verstappen, as he posted: "I am very committed to equality and the fight against racism. But I believe everyone has the right to express themself 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 #WeRaceAsOne #EndRacism"

Lando Norris also posted on social media ahead of the race, as he tweeted: "One quick message too before people make assumptions about what decisions drivers take on the grid to express their support against racism. We all share the same belief in ending racism and supporting equality for all. #WeRaceAsOne #EndRacism #PeaceAndLove"

Verstappen and Leclerc were not alone in refusing to take the knee, as can be seen in the image and video below ahead of today's race.

It must be stressed, however, ALL drivers wore t-shirts with an anti-racism message on them, with some wearing one that read 'End Racism', and others wearing 'Black Lives Matter' shirts.

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