Hamilton insists Black Lives Matter activism did not impact his F1 focus

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Lewis Hamilton is adamant he can fully focus on trying to win a seventh Formula 1 title while continuing his Black Lives Matter activism.

Last weekend, before the start, the Mercedes driver and 13 others took a knee in a symbolic gesture against racial injustice, while Hamilton himself wore a BLM-themed helmet.

On the track, however, he was beaten by Valtteri Bottas to pole in qualifying and was given two penalties, one for failing to slow under yellow flags in qualifying and another for colliding with Alex Albon in the race.

“I don’t feel like I need to refocus,” Hamilton said on whether his activism was drawing his mind away from racing via Crash.net on Thursday

“If you watch the race you will see that my race was pretty strong. I do naturally need to do a better job over the weekend but I wouldn’t say I was distracted by any means.

“I continue to stay focused as I was before. Staying focused on both fighting and trying to win this championship but also fighting for equal rights.”

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Hamilton has indicated he will continue to take a knee before each race this season but, unlike last week, it's understood no time in the pre-race schedule has currently been given for him and other drivers to gather again.

“This weekend I don’t believe we have that position ahead of the national anthem, whether we have space and the time to utilise the moment and make a stand,” he said.

“I don’t believe that’s there now, so we will probably go to the national anthem and it’s not my goal to take a knee during the national anthem."

Though six drivers opted not to take the knee for various reasons, reflecting on that moment, Hamilton was optimistic of the message F1 sent.

"It was really encouraging to see at least one of the teams taking a knee, I think it was the Red Bull team, I thought that was great,” he added. “So, if we have time maybe there’s something my team and I could do.

“It’s just about time and there’s not a lot of time before the race. What I do think is important though is that people of colour don’t really have the time to just have this as a small moment and then go back to things as normal.

“We have to continue to speak out, we have to continue to utilise the moment to spread awareness and try to push for change. That’s not going to go away any time soon, that’s not going to go in just a couple of weeks. I will do my utmost.

“I’m not against taking the knee again, so if I can find a way of making sure it doesn’t get in the way of us doing our job, then I will.”