By Alan Baldwin
SCARPERIA, ITALY, Mon. Sept 14, 2020 (Reuters) – Caribbean roots Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton won the Tuscan Grand Prix on Sunday in Mugello, Italy in style after wearing a T-shirt declaring “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor.” It was Hamilton’s 90th GP win, just one short of the all-time record set by Michael Schumacher and the six-month anniversary Taylor’s death.
The words “say her name” and a photograph of Taylor were on the back of Briton Hamilton’s black shirt as he knelt with other drivers before the anthem as part of the sport’s now-regular anti-racism stance.
The Mercedes driver, the sport’s only Black competitor who has previously worn a “Black Lives Matter” T-shirt in such occasions, won the race at Italy’s Mugello circuit.
Hamilton, whose roots extend to Grenada through his dad, wore the Taylor shirt again on the podium as he celebrated victory.
Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was killed by police officers who burst into her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky, in March.
One police officer involved was fired by the city’s police department in June. Two other officers have been placed on administrative reassignment. No criminal charges have been filed against any of the three.
U.S. Open tennis winner Naomi Osaka wore a face mask with Taylor’s name on it as one of a series of masks she wore on her way to the title and Hamilton hailed the Japanese player’s action.
“It took me a long time to get that shirt,” he told reporters afterwards.
“I’ve been wanting to wear that and bring awareness to the fact that there’s people there that have been killed on the street and there’s someone that got killed in her own house. And those guys are still walking free.
“We have to continue to raise awareness with it and Naomi has been doing amazing, so huge congratulations to her. I think she’s an incredible inspiration with what she’s done with her platform.”
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said on Saturday Hamilton, who has been a prominent campaigner for diversity and racial equality, was free to make whatever anti-racism statement he wanted.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Ed Osmond and Christian Radnedge)