With his victory in the Turkish Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton won his seventh World Championship title.
At the same time he entered his name together with Michael Schumacher in the Formula 1 record books as the most successful driver of all time, but later it became clear that this name stood for more than just Hamilton.
Hamilton is aware of his position in the history of the sport and this year has used his platform to advocate for change in the world. His voice has been heard on issues ranging from racial injustice to diversity and the environment.
After his victory in Turkey, Hamilton went to social media to summarize his thoughts.
As I rode until today, and even after crossing the line, I gathered my thoughts on what was most important to me, he wrote on his Instagram stern after the race.
This year has been so unpredictable. Because of the pandemic and because the season was clearly postponed by a few months, I had the most downtime of my life. It gave me a chance to think about my ultimate goal. Seven World Championships is a lot for me, I can’t even describe the number, but there is still one race to win.
Fault! The file name is not specified. MASSON/PULTE/AFP CLIVE via Getty Images
This year I was not only motivated by the desire to win on the track, but also by the desire to make our sport and our world more diverse and inclusive. I promise I won’t stop fighting for change. We still have a long way to go, but I will continue to fight for equality in our sport and in the world we live in.
The same Michael Schumacher file enlightens me, which I know won’t always be there. So, while you’re here and listening carefully, I’d like to ask everyone to contribute to a fairer world. Let’s be a little more accommodating and friendly to each other. Let’s make sure that this possibility does not depend on the background or the color of the skin.
Nothing’s impossible. The motivation for me this year was to set an example for the next generation never to give up my dreams. Many have told me that my dream is impossible, but here I am. I want you to know you can. Never give up, keep fighting, and stay on the right path.
Hamilton has already begun to put his words into practice. Earlier this year he set up a committee of experts to help understand why black people are under-represented in British motorsport and to find ways to change this situation.
As the season approaches, he takes part in peaceful demonstrations against racial injustice in London and persuades Mercedes to paint his cars black instead of the brand’s traditional silver.
Throughout the season, he knelt in a Black Lives Matter t-shirt for every Formula 1 race or, in the case of the Tuscany Grand Prix in September, a t-shirt with the words Arrest the cops who killed Brenne Taylor.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Lewis Hamilton knelt for the Grand Prix of Tuscany under the jersey of Breonna Taylor. Dan Eastitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 by Getty Images
And while Hamilton defended its position, the sport followed its own statements and commitments. Both the Formula 1 and Mercedes teams are committed to improving diversity and making real changes.
They may have done the same without Hamilton, but he has done more than any other man in F1 to keep the message alive. And now Hamilton hopes that his seventh world title, which in other circumstances may have inspired only those who follow the sport, can become his own message to change people’s lives.
It is clearly no secret that I am the only black person who has played this sport alone, he said on Sunday. That’s a very interesting point, because the fact is that I’m a double breed. I’m a double agent and I don’t think color is something people should read.
But I think it will show, hopefully, that when I was younger, I didn’t have anyone in the sport who looked like me. So it was easy to think that he couldn’t be there, because there was no one of your colour, you don’t see a single black person on television who was in Formula 1.
I hope this will serve as a message to the children watching, that they will see today’s performance and that they will see that it doesn’t matter where you come from. Whatever your background, it’s important to have big dreams.
If you look at places and industries and you don’t see anyone who has the same ancestry or ethnicity as you or the same religion, you create your own path. We did, that’s what I could do, and it was so hard.
The cold doesn’t even begin to describe how difficult it was. But I hope it’s a message, it’s the most important message for children – to dream as much as possible and not give up.