Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton, the motorsport's only Black driver, raises right fist on the podium after taking his first victory of the season at Styrian Grand Prix in Austria.

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton raises a fist on the podium after the Formula One Styrian Grand Prix race on July 12, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria.
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton raises a fist on the podium after the Formula One Styrian Grand Prix race on July 12, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (AFP)

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton, the sport's only Black driver, has raised a clenched fist on the podium after taking his first victory of the season at Austria's Red Bull Ring.

The Mercedes driver on Sunday had also taken a knee on the starting grid with some of the other drivers while wearing a T-shirt with 'Black Lives Matter' on the front. 

The world television feed quickly cut away to a Red Bull stunt parachutist, however.

The Styrian Grand Prix race itself was run without spectators due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Hamilton, 35, also has Black Lives Matter written on his race helmet.

"We stand together and fight," he said after posting on Instagram a picture of himself making the gesture on the Spielberg podium after collecting the 85th winner's trophy of his F1 career.

"The team today took the knee which was just amazing to see that together we can learn, be open-minded and conscious of what's going on in the world."

Diversity in motorsport

The Briton, a six-time world champion who is now six wins short of equalling Ferrari great Michael Schumacher's all-time record of 91, has been an outspoken in support of anti-racism campaigners and for equal opportunities.

Hamilton had also clenched a fist while standing on his racing car, this season painted black rather than the usual silver.

The clenched fist gesture echoed that of sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos on the podium at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. 

Both men were kicked off the US team and sent home after their famous black-gloved protest.

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Diversity in motorsport

"Some people were asking 'How long do we have to continue to do this?' Some felt like one was enough last week, and I just had to (tell) them that racism is going to be here for probably longer than our time here," Hamilton said.

"People of colour who are subject to racism don't have time to (just) 'take a moment' to protest and that be it. We've got to continue to push for equality and raise awareness for it."

Hamilton has spoken out against racism since the death in May of George Floyd — a handcuffed and unarmed Black man — after a police officer pressed his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly eight minutes in May. 

Hamilton attended a Black Lives Matter march in London and is setting up a commission to increase diversity in motorsport.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies