- I think that everyone in general has the right to do as they wish, Alfa Romeo's F1 driver Kimi Räikkönen told Sky Sports on Thursday.
Räikkönen's comment refers to the events of a quiet moment last Sunday before the opening race of the formula season in Austria.
He and five other colleagues did not kneel at the starting line when drivers made a gesture of anti-racism and solidarity.
The other 14 drivers, including Mercedes Valtteri Bottas, knelt.
Read more: Kimi Räikkönen and five other F1 drivers did not kneel - Lewis Hamilton took a stand
According to Räikkönen, it is pointless to draw big conclusions from his decision not to kneel.
The Finn, like others, wore a black t-shirt that read “End Racism,” that is, stop racism.
Lewis Hamilton’s shirt read “Black Lives Matter”.
- All the drivers are definitely against racism and we all had shirts. I am very happy to help with these things, but in the end everyone has the right to do as they feel most comfortable, Räikkönen continued.
- F1 and the teams do their best, so I find it a little crazy to question things, but that's how the world unfortunately works.
In addition to Räikkönen, Max Verstappe of Red Bull and Charles Leclerc of Ferrari, for example, did not kneel.
Renault's Daniel Ricciardo defended the standstill in an interview with Yahoo Sports on Monday.
“I think some of the drivers were struggling with their citizenship and what kneeling would represent,” Ricciardo said.
He himself knelt down.
- No one will be accused or criticized if they do not stand in a certain way or kneel, the Australian added.
Kneeling has become a symbol of the anti-racist Black Lives Matter movement since American football player Colin Kaepernick began kneeling while the U.S. national anthem played in NFL matches in 2016.
In his gesture, Kaepernick opposed discrimination based on skin color, police violence, and structural repression in the United States.