Lewis Hamilton maybe Formula One most successful rider but after securing a record-equalling seventh world title on Sunday, the Briton says he still has a lot more to achieve – namely making his sport and the world “more diverse and inclusive.”
A brilliant drive during the drenched Turkish Grand Prix ensured Hamilton not only won the race – for a record-extending 94th Grand Prix victory – but also equaled Michael Schumacher’s tally of seven world titles, the only record remaining for the German great. . The British have not gone beyond.
in a Instagram post after his historic feat, Hamilton said the coronavirus pandemic had given him the opportunity to “really think about my end goal”.
“Seven World Championships means a lot to me, I can’t even explain how many, but there are still other races we haven’t won yet,” the post read.
“This year I am driven not only by my desire to win on track, but by a desire to help propel our sport, and our world to become more diverse and inclusive. I promise you that I will not stop fighting for change. We still have a long way to go, but I will continue to push for equality in our sport, and in the wider world in which we live.
“Equaling Michael Schumacher’s record is a highlight for me who I know will not be here forever. So while you’re here paying attention, I want to ask everyone to do their part to help create a more equal world. Let’s be more accepting and kinder to each other. Let’s make that opportunity not something that depends on background or skin color.”
No driver in the history of the sport has won as many races, secured pole positions or finished on the podium as many times as Hamilton. He was widely expected to add to his number of world titles – saying on the podium after the race that he felt “like I’ve just started” – and his place in the F1 ranks has long been assured.
He is the face of F1, but also his voice and conscience and has used his stature like no other F1 world champion. The first and only black F1 world champion in its 70 year history, this year he became one of the sport’s leading voices in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
With Hamilton a force for change, Mercedes – known for its silver livery – unveiled an all-black car for this season in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, with drivers wearing black jerseys and halos from both cars featuring calls to “End Racism.”
The Englishman’s own incredible story – his father, Anthony, juggling three jobs, re-mortgaging the family home and spending his life savings to keep his son in karting – is an example of how difficult this sport can be to get into, especially because of the financial costs involved.
Spoke to reporters on Sunday, Hamilton said: “It’s no secret that I’ve lived this sport alone as the only person of color here.
“The fact is that I am bi-racial… and there is colorism that people should probably read about.
“When I was young I didn’t have anyone in the sport who looked like me, so it was easy to think it would be impossible to get there because none of your people of color have been there, you don’t see black people in F1. .
“But hopefully this sends a message to the kids watching… that it doesn’t matter where you come from, whatever your background, it’s really important that you dream big.
“You can make your own way and that’s what I can do, and it’s very difficult. Tough doesn’t even describe how hard it is.
Immediately after the race, Hamilton sat in his car with his head in his hands and fought back tears.
“It’s very rare that I lose control of my emotions but I remember those last few laps and I just told myself to stay calm,” Hamilton told reporters.
“When I found the line it really shocked me and I immediately burst into tears.
“I didn’t want the visor to come up and people see the tears because I always said you’d never see me cry. I remember seeing other riders cry in the past, and I was like, I’d never do that, but it was too much.”
Hamilton needs to finish eight points ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas to secure the title at Istanbul Park. He did so effortlessly, licking the Finn who crossed the line in 14th to rack up zero points.
Driving on the same Mercedes engine, Bottas’ performance illustrates how superior Hamilton’s talent is. Nobody came close to challenging for world champions during this truncated season and he secured the title with three races remaining, having won four straight and 10 of 14 races so far this year.