Former Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone believes Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton is being taken advantage of by the Black Lives Matter movement.
The 90-year-old said that if it were up to him, he would ban the gesture of taking a knee before races.
Ecclestone has previously been labelled ignorant and uneducated by Hamilton for his past comments on racism and diversity.
The former head of the sport went on to say that given a choice, he would’ve also stopped drivers from wearing any sort of anti-racism merchandise.
Hamilton played a leading role in delivering the Black Lives Matter movement across the sport. He persuaded drivers on the grid to take a knee before races to help fight against racism, but Ecclestone did not see the sense in it.
“I’ve said to his father, ‘Lewis needs to be careful’, because he’s being used by the people who are supporting this Black Lives Matter and they are taking a lot of money from it. And nobody knows where it goes,” Ecclestone said.
“If I’d still been around there wouldn’t have been anyone wearing [anti-racism] t-shirts on the podium, that’s for sure.
“One hundred per cent, there wouldn’t have been this business of kneeling before races.”
While most drivers did follow Hamilton in taking a knee, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc notably chose not to do so.
Last year, Ecclestone had seen himself get a lot of flak for saying, “In many cases black people are more racist than white people”.
Hamilton, meanwhile, feels like he has got the impetus from last season to push the message forward even more. He believes he can make a difference by doing so.
“I had this extra drive in me this year to get to the end of those races,” Hamilton had said at the end of last year.
“It was a different drive than what I’ve had in me in the past. To get to the end of those races first so that I could utilise that platform [for Black Lives Matter] and shine the light as bright as possible.”
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