Reigning Formula One champion, Lewis Hamilton has stated that the Black Lives Matter movement gave him extra motivation in 2020, a year he didn’t just only win his seventh Formula 1 world title, but he equalled Michael Schumacher’s F1 record of winning seven World Championships and passing the German’s total of 91 grands prix victories.
He was also voted the 2020 BBC Sports Personality of the Year earlier this month.
This year, Hamilton, 35, was always taking a knee on the grid and wore anti-racism slogans in support of the cause during the season.
His team, Mercedes, also adopted a black livery for the 2020 campaign in a stand against discrimination.
Hamilton, speaking to BBC Radio 4’s program on Saturday, December 26, said: “I had this extra drive in me to get to the end of those races.”
Speaking to historian and BBC presenter Professor David Olusoga: “It was a different drive than what I’ve had in me in the past – to get to the end of those races first so that I could utilise that platform [for Black Lives Matter] and shine the light as bright as possible.”
Asked by Olusoga if he had been concerned about the response to his stance, Hamilton replied: “There is no way that I could stay silent. And once I said that to myself, I didn’t hold any fear.”
Hamilton was also asked by presenter Nick Robinson about racism in his sport and the fact that he is the only black F1 driver.
“There are many other young kids of colour that deserve the opportunity to progress, have a great education, [who could] be an engineer or whatever it is they want. But the fact is, the opportunity is not the same for them,” said Hamilton.
Hamilton also hinted that activism might be his next focus when he retires from racing.
“The happiness and success of winning these championships is a wonderful thing, but it’s short lived,” Hamilton added.