Lewis Hamilton: ‘I’ve walked this sport alone’ says F1 champion after record title win



CNN

Lewis Hamilton may be Formula 1’s most successful driver, but after claiming a record seventh world title on Sunday, the Briton said he still has a long way to go, namely to make his sport and the world be “more diverse and inclusive”.

A brilliant run during a rain-soaked Turkish Grand Prix ensured Hamilton not only won the race, a record-extending 94th Grand Prix victory, but also equaled Michael Schumacher’s total of seven world titles, the only remaining record of the great German that the Englishman has not yet surpassed.

In an Instagram post after his historic feat, Hamilton said the coronavirus pandemic had given him the opportunity to “really think about my ultimate purpose.”

“Seven World Championships mean the world to me, I can’t even describe how much, but we still have one more race to win,” the post read.

“This year I am fueled not only by my desire to win on the court, but by my desire to help push our sport and our world to become more diverse and inclusive. I promise you that I will not stop fighting for change .We have a long way to go, but I will continue to push for equality within our sport and within the world we live in.

“Equaling Michael Schumacher’s record puts me in a spotlight that I know won’t 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 kind to each other. Let’s make opportunity not dependent on background or skin color.”

Hamilton celebrates on the podium after winning the Turkish Grand Prix.

No driver in the history of the sport has won as many races, secured as many pole positions or finished on the podium as many times as Hamilton. He will be hoping to add to his tally of world titles, saying on the podium after the race that he felt “like he’s just started” – and his place in the F1 pantheon has long been assured.

He is the face of F1, but also its voice and conscience and has used his stature like no other F1 world champion. F1’s first and only black 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 being a force for change, Mercedes, famed for its silver livery, unveiled an all-black car for this season in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, with the drivers wearing black uniforms and the halos of both cars featuring the call “Finish”. Racism”.

The Briton’s own incredible story – his father Anthony juggling three jobs, re-mortgaging the family home and dipping into his life savings to keep his son in karting – is an example of as it is notoriously difficult to get into the sport, mainly because of the financial costs involved.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Hamilton said: “It’s no secret that I’ve done this sport alone as the only person of color here.

“The fact is, I’m bi-racial … and there’s colorism that people should maybe read.

“When I was younger I didn’t have anyone in the sport who looked like me, so it was easy to think that it’s not possible to get there because no one of your color has ever been there, you don’t see any black people in F1.

“But we hope this sends a message to the kids who are watching … that no matter where you come from, no matter what your background is, it’s so important for you to dream big.

“You can create your own path and that’s what I’ve been able to do, and it’s been really tough. Tough doesn’t even describe how tough it’s been.”

An emotional Hamilton after the race.  He later said he would probably celebrate with some minestrone soup and wine.

Immediately after the race, Hamilton sat in his car with his head buried in his hands and fought back tears.

“Very rarely do I lose control of my emotions, but I remember those last few laps and I was just telling myself to keep it together,” Hamilton told reporters.

“When I met the line it really hit me and I burst into tears.

“I didn’t want the visor up and people to see the tears because I would always say you’ll never see me cry. I remember seeing other riders cry in the past, and I said I’ll never do that, but it was too much.”

Hamilton needed to finish eight points ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas to secure the title at Istanbul Park. He did so with ease, lapping the Finn who crossed the line in 14th to collect zero points.

Driving the same Mercedes machinery, Bottas’ performance illustrated just how much of a superior talent Hamilton is. No one has come close to challenging the world champion in this truncated season and he has secured the title with three races remaining, having won four races in a row and 10 of 14 races so far this year.

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