Aug.7 (GMM) Charles Leclerc has lashed out at media reports and members of the public accusing him of racism.
It comes after his latest interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, in which he said he does not kneel before races because of the Black Lives Matter movement’s links to violence and politics.
“It is very sad to see how some people manipulate my words to make headlines making me sound like a racist,” Leclerc declared on Twitter.
“I’ve always been respectful to everyone and that should be the standard in today’s world. I am not racist and I absolutely hate racism,” he added.
Then the Ferrari driver told reporters at Silverstone: “I just don’t want to be judged anymore.
“I do not accept being called the way I have been called in the last few weeks, just because of not kneeling,” Leclerc, 22, added.
The kneeling issue, championed by Lewis Hamilton who openly wears Black Lives Matter Branding whilst doing so, has become a hot topic in Formula 1.
Like Leclerc, Spaniard Carlos Sainz also refuses to kneel before the races in 2020.
“What does kneeling have to do with being racist or not?” he was quoted as saying by El Mundo Deportivo at Silverstone. “It’s a mere gesture that changes nothing.
“It has become more about who kneels and who doesn’t kneel than who is for or against racism,” said the McLaren driver.
As for Leclerc, and the Monegasque’s claim that he has been branded a racist, Sainz responded: “Honestly I have not had many comments like that.
“I have had some but I have not felt offended or pressured and that’s why I haven’t felt the need to say anything on social media as Leclerc did feel.
“But it just shows the pressure that F1 drivers are under in the media, and the way in which people are confused about what is racist and what is not.
“For me, I think we should stop talking about it and turn the page,” he said.