Lewis Hamilton spoke of his desire to win the US Formula 1 Grand Prix and clarified his stance on the ‘Take a Knee’ protests when asked during the Thursday drivers’ press conference.
The Briton, who was expected by some to kneel during the US national anthem in solidarity with other sportspersons such as Colin Kaepernick after an Instagram post explaining the NFL player’s decision to do so, said “I don’t have a position, I don’t have any plans [to take a knee].”
When pressed further about the issue, Hamilton explained: “Of course there’s been, there’s been a lot of mention of it, not of the kneeling but just of the whole situation.
“I know a lot of people here in America and I get to speak to a lot of black and white people that live in America, and I get quite a good view of what’s happening here in the States, and opinions from the Americans here and about the movement, which I think is pretty huge.
“I respect it highly and I find the movement that Kaepernick started, I think, awesome.
“And I’m very much in support of it, but I’m here to win. That’s really at the top of my priority at the moment, I’m not really focused on anything else at the moment.
“I don’t really plan on allowing all the BS that’s surrounding the topic to pull me down in my strive to winning this world title. I’ve worked hard to be where I am today and whilst I have opinions and feelings about the whole situation, as I said at the moment: [I have] no plans to do anything [protest].”
With a 59-point cushion at the top of the drivers’ championship, Hamilton needs a win with rival Sebastian Vettel finishing sixth or lower or a second-place finish with Vettel finishing ninth or below for a fourth championship.
“Honestly I think the talk of the championship this weekend has been silly I think,” said Hamilton.
“Sebastian [and Ferrari], you can’t expect them to have a difficult weekend again, they’re going to be quick.
“I think [Vettel has] been a strong fighter all year and just because he’s obviously had a few issues technically but I think still the car is as strong as it’s been, for sure they’ll have an upgrade this weekend, they’ve definitely had a couple of hiccups but they’ll definitely have something for this weekend, that’s why nothing’s changed for me.
“There’s no reason to back out, just got to keep pushing forward.
“We’ve got a chance to win the championship, I honestly don’t care if it’s here or in the last race.”
Hamilton also explained that he wants to win the US GP above all and implied wider reasons for his motivation.
“I think winning here is the most important thing to me, particularly in the midst of all that is going on in the country, I think that is a priority for me, and you know what I’m talking about,” he said.
Having been quizzed multiple times about the protest situation, Hamilton clarified: “As I said, I’m here to win, that’s my focus.”
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