Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 24 November 2020

Lewis Hamilton: Winning doesn’t mean anything unless it brings change

F1 world champion named Britain's most influential Black person by Powerful Media

Lewis Hamilton has said becoming the most successful Formula One driver of all time is meaningless unless he can help tackle racism and push for social change.

The Mercedes driver on Sunday won the Turkish Grand Prix and with it a record-equalling seventh F1 drivers' title to move level with Ferrari great Michael Schumacher.

The Englishman, 35, now has more career wins, pole positions and podiums than the retired German, however, and few would bet against him adding to those records.

"Competing and winning championships is a great thing, but what does it really mean? It doesn’t mean anything unless you can help push for change," he told The Guardian newspaper in an interview published on Tuesday.

"I cannot keep silent during this time. I decided that I have to use this platform. There are so many people out there who are struggling and so many who have experienced what I have experienced, and worse."

The interview was conducted by Michael Eboda, chief executive of Powerful Media, whose annual Powerlist on Tuesday named Hamilton as Britain's most influential Black person.

He was the only sportsman named in the top 10.

Hamilton has been the driving force in F1 to highlight racial injustice as well as push for diversity in F1 and champion environment issues.

The Briton has set up a commission of experts to help increase the representation of Black people in British motorsports, and routinely takes a knee and promotes Black Lives Matter at races on the grid before each race.

"It is very symbolic to continue to utilise that platform and use that message," he said.

"And it’s important to continue to do it, to keep awareness, because otherwise this thing could die a quiet death and go back to how it was in the past. So I don’t see this changing for some time."

Hamilton said he wanted to really see a different Formula One in 10 years' time. He said he was talking to F1's commercial rights holders Liberty Media for a long-term role "to try to help them progress in the right direction and continue to bring in new audiences.

"I’ll probably do that as a side job. I honestly couldn’t be more excited about it," he said.

"On one side, I don’t want the time to ever go by fast. On the other, I can’t wait till I start this new chapter of my life."

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Hamilton joins stars who dominated their sport

Updated: November 17, 2020 03:46 PM

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