Lewis Hamilton says he has channelled the Black Lives Matter movement and desire for Formula 1 to be a force for good in the world into his driving during his sensational record-equalling seventh F1 title-winning season – admitting he has “another fire burning” inside him.
Hamilton laid claim to the title of the most-successful racing driver of all time in the Turkish GP by equalling Michael Schumacher’s haul of seven world titles in a year in which he has also taken the record for the most race wins of all time.
But going hand-in-hand with the Mercedes driver’s unprecedented sporting achievement has been the prominent role he has taken in calling for racial justice and a more diverse society, both within motorsport the world at large.
And speaking openly to Sky Sports F1 in the hours after becoming a seven-time champion on Sunday evening, Hamilton explained why the challenging events of this year had inspired him to help drive lasting change – and why he believes the sport can play a leading role in that.
“Every other year that I’ve come in you’re one man on a mission,” said Hamilton. “Of course, with a large group of people. There’s a team championship to win and then there’s a drivers’ one and it takes everything, so much sacrifice in the year to be at your best all year long.
“It’s quite a lonely fight in that sense as you’re fighting for that world title. This year has been so different in that the challenge that we’ve had with Covid and then not just that, when we’re seen the Black Lives Matter movement. That really for me gave me so much drive and so much focus and realise ‘hey we’ve really got to use this platform we have;’ which is amazing.
“There are a lot of organisations in the world that turn a blind eye to a lot of stuff that’s happening and they’ll use the excuse that it’s political. Human rights is not a political thing. Human rights should be equal for everyone.
“We’re going to all these counties where that is an issue and we don’t have to shut those areas off; we have to figure out how we can engage more and how we can really utilise the platforms to encourage and push for change.
“That’s what’s been a real drive for me this year and you’ve seen that coming out in my driving because I have now another fire burning. Whilst I’ve got this championship, there’s still another big win out there but it’s going to take all of us coming together.”