Lewis Hamilton insists he would give up equalling Michael Schumacher’s record of seven titles in exchange for improving diversity in F1 – and he says he is ‘seeing people change already’ and ‘an awakening’ amid his strong fight against racism
- Lewis Hamilton has leding the fight against racial discrimination in Formula One
- The world champion is focused on the bigger picture rather than personal glory
- Hamilton admitted he would prefer to effect lasting change rather than complete a record-equalling seven F1 world titles, which he is chasing this year
- The 35-year-old star is seeking to discover why motorsport has a lack of diversity
Lewis Hamilton has admitted he would sacrifice equalling the all-time record for most world championship titles in exchange for improving diversity in motorsport.
The British racer is just one crown away from equalling Michael Schumacher’s tally of seven in Formula One – but he has his sights firmly set on the bigger picture after playing a vocal role in the fight against racism.
Despite enjoying a lightning start to the 2020 season, and becoming the firm favourite to win what would be a fourth straight title, Hamilton would be prepared to set aside any personal success to help introduce lasting change.
Lewis Hamilton would swap a record-equalling seven F1 titles in exchange for more diversity
Hamilton is one world championship crown away from Michael Schumacher’s tally of seven
Hamilton has stepped to the fore since the F1 campaign began earlier this year as Black Lives Matter protests continue to sweep across the world and demand an end to systemic discrimination.
The 35-year-old spearheaded the effort behind drivers taking a knee before races while continuing to push for greater diversity, and would be willing for any achievements off the circuit to overshadow his sporting ones.
He told F1TV: ‘I am the only black driver here, for whatever reason, I don’t know why I was chosen to be able to do what I do in the car and it wasn’t somebody else. Things have happened along the way in my life and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I’m in the position I’m in today.
Hamilton has championed the Black Lives Matter and anti-racism protests in F1
‘There was a point where I was like: “Geez, just me being here is not enough. I’ve got to speak up. I could do more.” If I was to have retired a year ago, maybe nothing would have changed. I don’t know.
‘But what I love to see right now, there is this awakening. There are people slowly [awakening], still not everyone. Still a lot of these teams have not said anything or held themselves accountable. There’s still a lot of people out there. It’s finding the balance and how you engage those people.
‘I hope in 10 years – I don’t want it to be in 20 years’ time – I hope in a short space of time we can see change. I’m seeing people [change] already.
‘You’re seeing [F1 chief executive] Chase [Carey] and the sport. You’re seeing [FIA president] Jean [Todt], who’ve had a chat with and who’s hired a lady from Jamaica, who’s now working on the diversity campaign for the FIA.
Hamilton hit out at F1 chiefs after confusion had shrouded drivers taking a knee last month
The gesture divided drivers with some instead choosing to stand while others kneeled
‘So you’re seeing things, but we need to stay on them. And that’s part of my job, being here, I think and that means more to me. Because, if I’m able to look back in a year’s time and think, “Yeah, I won championships but I was a part of helping shift the outlook of this sport and making it more accessible to people all over the world”, I think that would be a great thing to be a part of.’
Hamilton remains the only black driver to have competed in F1, and is setting up a commission in his name to examine the reasons behind the stark lack of diversity in motorsport. The reigning champion has also undergone diversity and inclusion training to gain a greater understanding of the inequality laid bare globally in recent months.
But he has also hit out at the disorganisation of F1 chiefs after drivers were only given a small amount of time to take a knee before the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The gesture has become a popular stance in the efforts against racism, but has divided drivers on the grid. Max Verstappen, Kimi Raikkonen and Charles Leclerc are among those who have instead opted to stand.
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