June 4, 2020 / 3:05 AM / a month ago

Mercedes F1 boss backs Hamilton on racial injustice

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.

FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 - Australian Grand Prix - Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia - March 12, 2020 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton during press conference REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File Photo

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

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