Mercedes F1 boss backs Hamilton on racial injustice

Alan Baldwin
Italian Grand Prix

By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has given six-times Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton his full backing for the passionate condemnation of racial injustice after the death of George Floyd.

Hamilton spoke to millions of followers on social media of his rage and disbelief at the killing of the unarmed black man, who died in Minneapolis after a white U.S. police officer knelt on his neck.

Wolff told reporters that his racing driver, Formula One's first black champion, had taught him a lot about racial inequality.

"He has asked me the question once: 'Have you ever had the active thought that you are white?'," said the Austrian.

"I said no actually I have never thought about it. And he said 'well, I need to think about it every day because I am being made aware that I am'.

"It is very difficult for us to comprehend how difficult it is and therefore I am happy and supportive that he has come out vocal. He is one of the ambassadors of this sport and I think it's good."

Floyd's death has triggered a wave of outrage and violent protests in the United States. Four Minneapolis police officers are facing charges.

"I think we all of us have the power to make a change," said Wolff.

"Sometimes it needs events like the ones that happened a few days ago in the U.S. to trigger a massive wave of support for any minority.

"I think it's good that Lewis, as a sports superstar, is the one up front with it in a sport that is very much dominated by white males," said Wolff.


(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)