Lewis Hamilton was warned he faced “potential consequences” if he wore a helmet paying tribute to Colin Kaepernick and therefore abandoned the plan.
Former NFL quarterback Kaepernick has been a divisive figure in the United States since he kneeled for the national anthem to protest social inequality and police brutality.
The demonstration has been adopted across the sporting world in recent weeks following the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.
Hamilton, Formula One’s reigning champion and first black driver, was among those to follow suit as his season started last weekend.
But the Briton revealed ahead of the Styrian Grand Prix that he had initially planned a display relating to Kaepernick at the sport’s American event.
“I was advised from outside, from someone in the States who was really quite high up, that it wasn’t the time for me to be doing so,” Hamilton explained.
“There were potential consequences for me doing it, so that’s why they advised me not to do it. I don’t remember who else was involved. It’s not particularly important.
“I do still have that helmet that I’ve done for Colin. And I did speak to Colin about it, who was super supportive.
“I’m grateful that I was able to do it [take the knee] last weekend, and continue on the great movement I think he initially started [that] so many are continuing on today.”
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) July 5, 2020