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Formula One drivers take a knee in show of solidarity for anti-racism campaign

Formula One drivers stood united against racism ahead of Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix season-opening race.

Each of the 20 drivers wore a black T-shirt with the words "End Racism" emblazoned on it as they convened at the start of the track. The gesture was part of Formula One's #WeRaceAsOne initiative, launched this season to address COVID-19 and racism and inequality.

Austrian Grand Prix
Formula One F1 - Austrian Grand Prix drivers, including Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and others, kneel on the grid wearing anti-racism T-shirts before the race on July 5, 2020.  POOL / REUTERS

In a nod to Colin Kaepernick's protests against racial injustice and police brutality, 14 of the drivers knelt on one knee.

"End Racism. One cause. One commitment," F1 wrote on Twitter.

"As individuals, we choose our own way to support the cause. As a group of drivers and a wider F1 family, we are united in its goal."

Six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, Formula One's only black driver, wore a T-shirt featuring the words "Black Lives Matter." 

The British racing star, who nabbed fourth place during Sunday's race, has been very vocal in his support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

View this post on Instagram

Today was an important moment for me and all the people out there who are working for and hoping for change. For a more equal and just society. I may get criticism in the media and elsewhere, but this fight is about equality, not politics or promotion. To me it was an emotional and poignant chapter in the progress of making F1 a more diverse and inclusive sport. I want a better future for our generation and the ones after us. There is so much that needs to be done. No one is perfect but if we all chip in and do our part, we can see change. I truly believe that. Thank you to my team for their incredible support and hard work this weekend and thank you to all who supported. Let’s keep pushing, guys. See you next week. Love. #EndRacism #BlackLivesMatter

A post shared by Lewis Hamilton (@lewishamilton) on

"Today was an important moment for me and all the people out there who are working for and hoping for change. For a more equal and just society," Hamilton posted following the race. 

"To me it was an emotional and poignant chapter in the progress of making F1 a more diverse and inclusive sport. I want a better future for our generation and the ones after us. There is so much that needs to be done. No one is perfect but if we all chip in and do our part, we can see change. I truly believe that."

Six drivers stood with Hamilton and the other racers but did not kneel.

"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," tweeted second place winner Charles Leclerc

Kimi Raikkonen, Max Verstappen, Daniil Kvyat, Antonio Giovinazzi, Carlos Sainz Jr. were among the other racers who did not kneel, but emphasized their support for anti-racism efforts.

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