Lewis Hamilton has been outspoken on racial issues this year.
Lewis Hamilton has been outspoken on racial issues. Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton says the conviction of a white former police officer for the killing of George Floyd “marks a new dawn in the fight for racial justice”.

But the British racing driver warned it was just “one step” on the path towards a more equal society.

Derek Chauvin was found guilty on Tuesday of murdering African-American Floyd following a racially charged trial.

The 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis police force was seen on video kneeling on the neck of Floyd for more than nine minutes as he lay face down and handcuffed on the ground saying repeatedly “I can’t breathe” in an incident last May.

Hamilton, who said he had been left furious by Floyd’s death, last year equalled Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world championships against the backdrop of his personal fight against racism.

The 36-year-old, the sole black driver on the F1 grid, wrote on Instagram: “Justice for George! The emotions I feel right now are hard to describe. Derek Chauvin has been found guilty. This is the first time that a white officer has been convicted for killing a black man in Minnesota. This is monumental, George’s death is not in vain. The result of the Derek Chauvin trial today is the right one. Convicting him of all three charges marks a new dawn in the fight for racial justice.”

Hamilton, who continues to kneel ahead of races in a sign of his support for the campaign against racial injustice, said much work still needed to be done.

“This is just one step on the path towards a more equal society,” he said. “Since George’s death, so many other black people have died at the hands of the police and we must ensure the momentum of today continues. The fight isn’t over.”

Hamilton is top of the drivers’ standings ahead of the third race of the season in Portugal on May 2.