‘Hopefully this sends a message to kids’. Lewis Hamilton wants F1 feats to inspire
- Seven-time world champion is sport’s only black driver
- ‘It’s been tough, it was easy to think it was not possible’
Lewis Hamilton equalled Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world championships on Sunday by winning the Turkish Grand Prix and said afterwards that he hoped his success as a black man in an almost exclusively white sport would act as inspiration to children everywhere.
An emotional Hamilton, who remains the sport’s only black driver, went on to describe what a hard journey it had been to become the most successful driver in the history of Formula One. “It has been so tough. Tough doesn’t even describe how hard it has been,” he said. “When I was younger I didn’t have anybody in the sport that looked like me, so it was easy to think that it was not a possibility. You don’t see any black people on TV in F1 one so hopefully this sends a message to the kids that are watching.
“They can see that it doesn’t matter where you come from, or your background. Where you don’t see someone of the same background or ethnicity or religion as you, then create your own path.” Hamilton has been at the forefront of the anti-racism cause this season and said he would try to ensure his success made a difference.
“I promise you I am not going to stop fighting for change,” he wrote on Instagram. With F1 expected to race in Azerbaijan, Bahrain and now also Saudi Arabia next season Hamilton suggested he was going to hold the sport more accountable for the regimes of the countries it visited. “We realise we’ve got to face and not ignore the human rights issues in the countries that we go to, not just 20 years, 30 years from now, but now,” he said.