Lewis Hamilton ‘takes a knee’ but six drivers remain standing before Austrian GP

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and Red Bull's Max Verstappen were among six drivers who opted not to "take a knee" before the Austrian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton, who was demoted to fifth due to a three-place grid penalty, took a knee and was supported by 13 drivers.

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SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 05: Some of the F1 drivers take a knee on the grid in support of the Black Lives Matter movement ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 05, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 05: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP and some of the F1 drivers take a knee on the grid in support of the Black Lives Matter movement ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 05, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 05: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP wears a Black Live Matter shirt on the grid before the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 05, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 05: A general view of the grid before the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 05, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 05: A general view at the start of the race during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 05, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Mario Renzi - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 05: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP prepares to drive on the grid before the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 05, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 05: George Russell of Great Britain driving the (63) Williams Racing FW43 Mercedes retires from the race during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 05, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 05: Romain Grosjean of France driving the (8) Haas F1 Team VF-20 Ferrari runs wide during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 05, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 05: Race winner Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP celebrates on the podium during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 05, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Mario Renzi - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 05: Alexander Albon of Thailand driving the (23) Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB16 and Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB16 prepare on the grid during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 05, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 05: The chequered flag is waved during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 05, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Peter Fox - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 05: Third place Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren F1 celebrates on the podium during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 05, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Mario Renzi - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 05: Race winner Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP, second placed Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari and third placed Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren F1 celebrate on the podium during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 05, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton steers his car during the second practice session at the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix on July 3, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. - Seven months after they last competed in earnest, the Formula One circus will push a post-lockdown re-set button to open the 2020 season in Austria on July 5. (Photo by Joe Klamar / various sources / AFP) (Photo by JOE KLAMAR/AFP via Getty Images)
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 05: Third placed Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren F1 celebrates with McLaren Team Principal Andreas Seidl in parc ferme during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 05, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Mario Renzi - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 05: Race winner Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP celebrates with his girlfriend, cyclist Tiffany Cromwell in parc ferme during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 05, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 05: Alexander Albon of Thailand driving the (23) Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB16 and Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB16 prepare on the grid during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 05, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 05: Alexander Albon of Thailand driving the (23) Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB16 on track during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 05, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 05: A general view of the grid before the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 05, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 05: Pierre Gasly of France driving the (10) Scuderia AlphaTauri AT01 Honda makes a pit stop during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 05, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 05: The drivers stand for a minutes silence for the victims of COVID-19 on the grid before during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 05, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 05: An aerial display is seen over the circuit before the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 05, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 05: An aerial display is seen over the circuit before the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 05, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 05: Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP talks on the grid before the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 05, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 05: Second placed Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari celebrates with team member during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 05, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton steers his car during the second practice session at the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix on July 3, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. - Seven months after they last competed in earnest, the Formula One circus will push a post-lockdown re-set button to open the 2020 season in Austria on July 5. (Photo by Joe Klamar / various sources / AFP) (Photo by JOE KLAMAR/AFP via Getty Images)
(Up-Bottom) Red Bull's Thai driver Alex Albon, Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen and McLaren's British driver Lando Norris steer the cars during the qualifying round at the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix on July 4, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. - Seven months after they last competed in earnest, the Formula One circus will push a post-lockdown re-set button to open the 2020 season in Austria on July 5. (Photo by Mark Thompson / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MARK THOMPSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton attends a press conference after the qualifying round at the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix on July 4, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. - Seven months after they last competed in earnest, the Formula One circus will push a post-lockdown re-set button to open the 2020 season in Austria on July 5. (Photo by Mario RENZI / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MARIO RENZI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton steers his car during the qualifying round at the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix on July 4, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. - Seven months after they last competed in earnest, the Formula One circus will push a post-lockdown re-set button to open the 2020 season in Austria on July 5. (Photo by Joe Klamar / various sources / AFP) (Photo by JOE KLAMAR/AFP via Getty Images)
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton steers his car during the qualifying round at the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix on July 4, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. - Seven months after they last competed in earnest, the Formula One circus will push a post-lockdown re-set button to open the 2020 season in Austria on July 5. (Photo by Joe Klamar / various sources / AFP) (Photo by JOE KLAMAR/AFP via Getty Images)
Ferrari's Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc steers his car during the qualifying round at the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix on July 4, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. - Seven months after they last competed in earnest, the Formula One circus will push a post-lockdown re-set button to open the 2020 season in Austria on July 5. (Photo by Darko Bandic / POOL / AFP) (Photo by DARKO BANDIC/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
McLaren's British driver Lando Norris steers his car during the qualifying round at the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix on July 4, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. - Seven months after they last competed in earnest, the Formula One circus will push a post-lockdown re-set button to open the 2020 season in Austria on July 5. (Photo by LEONHARD FOEGER / POOL / AFP) (Photo by LEONHARD FOEGER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen reacts after the qualifying round at the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix on July 4, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. - Seven months after they last competed in earnest, the Formula One circus will push a post-lockdown re-set button to open the 2020 season in Austria on July 5. (Photo by LEONHARD FOEGER / AFP) (Photo by LEONHARD FOEGER/AFP via Getty Images)
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton (R) congratulates Mercedes' Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas after the qualifying round at the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix on July 4, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. - Seven months after they last competed in earnest, the Formula One circus will push a post-lockdown re-set button to open the 2020 season in Austria on July 5. (Photo by LEONHARD FOEGER / AFP) (Photo by LEONHARD FOEGER/AFP via Getty Images)
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton reacts after the qualifying round at the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix on July 4, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. - Seven months after they last competed in earnest, the Formula One circus will push a post-lockdown re-set button to open the 2020 season in Austria on July 5. (Photo by LEONHARD FOEGER / AFP) (Photo by LEONHARD FOEGER/AFP via Getty Images)
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton (R) congratulates Mercedes' Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas after the qualifying round at the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix on July 4, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. - Seven months after they last competed in earnest, the Formula One circus will push a post-lockdown re-set button to open the 2020 season in Austria on July 5. (Photo by LEONHARD FOEGER / AFP) (Photo by LEONHARD FOEGER/AFP via Getty Images)
Haas F1's Danish driver Kevin Magnussen steers his car in front of Alfa Romeo's Italian driver Antonio Giovinazzi during the qualifying round at the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix on July 4, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. - Seven months after they last competed in earnest, the Formula One circus will push a post-lockdown re-set button to open the 2020 season in Austria on July 5. (Photo by Darko Bandic / POOL / AFP) (Photo by DARKO BANDIC/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel steers his car during the qualifying round at the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix on July 4, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. - Seven months after they last competed in earnest, the Formula One circus will push a post-lockdown re-set button to open the 2020 season in Austria on July 5. (Photo by LEONHARD FOEGER / POOL / AFP) (Photo by LEONHARD FOEGER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
McLaren's British driver Lando Norris steers his car during the third practice session at the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix on July 4, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. - Seven months after they last competed in earnest, the Formula One circus will push a post-lockdown re-set button to open the 2020 season in Austria on July 5. (Photo by Darko Bandic / POOL / AFP) (Photo by DARKO BANDIC/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
AlphaTauri's French driver Pierre Gasly steers his car during the third practice session at the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix on July 4, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. - Seven months after they last competed in earnest, the Formula One circus will push a post-lockdown re-set button to open the 2020 season in Austria on July 5. (Photo by Mark Thompson / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MARK THOMPSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel steers his car during the third practice session at the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix on July 4, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. - Seven months after they last competed in earnest, the Formula One circus will push a post-lockdown re-set button to open the 2020 season in Austria on July 5. (Photo by Mark Thompson / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MARK THOMPSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Red Bull's Thai driver Alex Albon steers his car during the third practice session at the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix on July 4, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. - Seven months after they last competed in earnest, the Formula One circus will push a post-lockdown re-set button to open the 2020 season in Austria on July 5. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / various sources / AFP) (Photo by JOE KLAMAR/AFP via Getty Images)
Red Bull's Thai driver Alex Albon steers his car during the third practice session at the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix on July 4, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. - Seven months after they last competed in earnest, the Formula One circus will push a post-lockdown re-set button to open the 2020 season in Austria on July 5. (Photo by Mark Thompson / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MARK THOMPSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Red Bull's Thai driver Alex Albon steers his car during the third practice session at the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix on July 4, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. - Seven months after they last competed in earnest, the Formula One circus will push a post-lockdown re-set button to open the 2020 season in Austria on July 5. (Photo by LEONHARD FOEGER / POOL / AFP) (Photo by LEONHARD FOEGER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen steers his car during the third practice session at the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix on July 4, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. - Seven months after they last competed in earnest, the Formula One circus will push a post-lockdown re-set button to open the 2020 season in Austria on July 5. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / various sources / AFP) (Photo by JOE KLAMAR/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
McLaren's Spanish driver Carlos Sainz Jr steers his car during the third practice session at the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix on July 4, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. - Seven months after they last competed in earnest, the Formula One circus will push a post-lockdown re-set button to open the 2020 season in Austria on July 5. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / various sources / AFP) (Photo by JOE KLAMAR/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen steers his car during the second practice session at the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix on July 3, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. - Seven months after they last competed in earnest, the Formula One circus will push a post-lockdown re-set button to open the 2020 season in Austria on July 5. (Photo by Mark THOMPSON / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MARK THOMPSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Racing Point's Canadian driver Lance Stroll steers his car during the second practice session at the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix on July 3, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. - Seven months after they last competed in earnest, the Formula One circus will push a post-lockdown re-set button to open the 2020 season in Austria on July 5. (Photo by Mark THOMPSON / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MARK THOMPSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 05: The Scuderia AlphaTauri team push a car in the Pitlane during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 05, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 05: The rear left tyre of Daniil Kvyat of Russia driving the (26) Scuderia AlphaTauri AT01 Honda explodes during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 05, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
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But Verstappen, Leclerc, McLaren's Carlos Sainz, Alfa Romeo team-mates Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi, and Russian Daniil Kvyat stood up.

Hamilton was the only driver to wear a special T-shirt with the message 'Black Lives Matter'. The others carried the End Racism message instead.

Hamilton has claimed that division between his fellow drivers over the gesture, which is associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, is further proof of racism in Formula One.

"I will not take the knee but this does not mean at all that I am less committed than others in the fight against racism," said Leclerc, the first driver to publicly confirm his position on the matter pre-race.

"I believe that what matters are facts and behaviours in our daily life rather than formal gestures that could be seen as controversial in some countries.

"All 20 drivers stand united with their teams against racism and prejudice, at the same time embracing the principles of diversity, equality and inclusion, supporting Formula 1's and FIA's commitment."

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen also confirmed pre-race he would not take a knee before the season opener in Austria.

The Dutchman wrote on Twitter: "I am very committed to equality and the fight against racism. But I believe everyone has the right to express themself (sic) at a time and in a way that suits them.

"I will not take the knee today but respect and support the personal choices every driver makes."

During a tense virtual meeting of all 20 drivers at Spielberg's Red Bull Ring earlier this weekend, the topic of taking a knee was discussed. But the drivers failed to reach a unanimous conclusion.

The teams opted to leave their drivers to make up their own minds, while the FIA insisted it is not the job of the sporting federation to instruct the drivers on what is essentially a political decision.

Hamilton was dealt a blow ahead of the race, with the world champion demoted to fifth on the grid following a yellow flag infringement in qualifying.

Hamilton was cleared of the offence last night – failing to slow down sufficiently after team-mate Valtteri Bottas ran off the track – only for Red Bull to launch a protest against the decision.

Verstappen was bumped up to second. British driver Lando Norris was promoted to third in his McLaren and Red Bull's Alex Albon fourth.

Official confirmation arrived 40 minutes before the race, with the stewards saying fresh evidence had been reviewed in Sunday's protest.

"The new video footage clearly shows that a yellow light panel was flashing on the left side of the track in turn 5," read the FIA statement.

"A green light panel was flashing at the end of marshalling sector 9. Taking into account these facts, the Stewards determine that the decision will be reversed and the penalty (three-place grid drop) is being imposed."

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