Lewis Hamilton ‘doesn’t want to be remembered as just a racing driver’
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Lewis Hamilton wants to have a bigger impact on the world than just his legacy as one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time. While the Briton says it’s “all good” if people revere him for his ability behind the wheel in the future, he wants his greatest impact on the world to be his work in highlighting racial injustice and promoting greater equality.
The seven-time world champion is matched only by Michael Schumacher for the number of world titles won, and he could hold the record all by himself in two months’ time if he can fend off the challenge of Max Verstappen to secure success number eight.
In addition, he has won more races, stood on the podium and qualified in pole position more times than anyone else in the history of the sport.
His place in the history books has been secure for a long time, but it is his campaigning for social issues that he wants to be truly remembered for.
Hamilton told BBC Sport: “We all bleed the same blood, we all need the same opportunities. Right now there are 40,000 jobs within the motorsport industry and only one per cent are from black backgrounds.
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“I’ve never wanted to be remembered as a racing driver. I don’t want to be remembered just for that. It’s all good if people remember me being a good driver but I think my time here is really about impacting and helping people.”
The Mercedes racer has regularly made high-profile gestures at Grand Prix events, such as taking the knee after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year.
And he later said he had “no regrets” about wearing a T-shirt on the podium at the Tuscan Grand Prix which was emblazoned with the message: “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor.”
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As well as those gestures, Hamilton has set up more concrete initiatives to help promote the work and help people from minority backgrounds.
The Hamilton Commission aims to tackle inequality in motorsport and get more people from underrepresented backgrounds into the sport, while his Mission 44 charity aims to spend £20m to help children over several years.
His work has seen him named by BBC Radio 1Xtra as one of its 29 ‘Future Figures’, highlighting those who are “making Black history now”.
Hamilton added: “I put together this commission to really find out what those barriers are so we can really tackle them. We can get people together and take them on a journey, really pushing and making the sport look more like the outside world.
“What’s close to my heart is the black community because that’s obviously my background. That’s why we have focused the Hamilton Commission on that.
The 36-year-old continued: “A lot of students – particularly black students – are less likely to take up triple science. That’s part of the studies [to be an F1 engineer].
“Engineering is not just about being that engineer who works alongside me. There are literally thousands of jobs within this industry that are super exciting and well paid and great opportunities.
“That’s why we have to encourage young people to start pursuing STEM subjects from an early age.”
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