Lewis Hamilton has equaled Michael Schumacher’s record as he has become the second F1 driver to win seven World Championships after securing a win at the Turkish Grand Prix. This was also the glitzy Brit’s 94th career win, something he achieved through a trademark wet-weather performance, starting from 6th on the grid. It is being seen as one of the best drives of his illustrious career.
Speaking after the race, Hamilton said: “I always say it’s beyond my wildest dreams, but I think my whole life secretly I probably have dreamt as high as this. But it felt so farfetched.
“I remember watching Michael winning those championships and all us drivers here are always doing our best job we can. Just to get one, or two, or even three, it’s so hard to get. Seven is just unimaginable.”
This is hamilton’s fourth straight championship and his sixth in eight seasons with Mercedes. Hamilton has yet to sign a contract with Mercedes but after the win, it seems that’s very likely, with Mercedes chief admitting that the new contract has just got ‘really more expensive’
After winning in Turkey, Hamilton took to social media to sum up his thoughts.
“Leading up to today, and even after I crossed the line, I’ve been gathering my thoughts about what’s most important to me,” he wrote on his Instagram feed after the race.
“This year has been so unpredictable. With the pandemic and obviously the season being pushed back by several months, I had the most downtime I’ve ever had in my life. It gave me the chance to really think about my ultimate purpose. Seven World Championships means the world to me, I can’t even describe how much, but there’s still another race we’ve yet to win.”
“This year I’ve been driven not just by my desire to win on the track, but a desire to help push our sport, and our world to become more diverse and inclusive. I promise you I am not going to 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 greater world we live in.”
Equaling Michael Schumacher’s record puts a spotlight on me that I know won’t be here forever. So, while you’re here, paying attention, I want to ask everyone to do their part in helping to create a more equal world. Let’s be more accepting and kinder to each other. Let’s make it so that opportunity is not something that is dependent on background or skin colour.”
“Nothing is impossible. A driving force for me this year has been to set an example for the next generation, to never give up on your dreams. I was told by many that my dream was impossible, yet here I am. I want you to know that you can do it too. Never give up, keep fighting, and let’s keep rising to the occasion.”
That’s quite a long Instagram paragraph even considering emotional posts, but Lewis Hamilton isn’t a man of all words and no action. Earlier this year, he set up a commission of experts to help understand why Black people are underrepresented in British motorsport and, ultimately, come up with ways to change that fact.
Ahead of the season he took part in peaceful protests over racial injustice in London and persuaded Mercedes to paint its cars black instead of the brand’s traditional silver.
Throughout the season he has taken a knee ahead of every F1 race wearing a shirt saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ or, in the case of September’s Tuscan Grand Prix, a shirt saying ‘Arrest the Cops Who Killed Breonna Taylor’.
Hamilton’s stand has had the sport following with its own statements and commitments. Both F1 and his Mercedes team have taken a stronger stance on improving diversity and committed to themselves to bring about real change. Now, they may have done the same without Hamilton, but he has done more than any other individual in F1 to keep the message alive.
“It’s obviously no secret that I’ve really walked this sport alone as the only Black person here,” he said on Sunday. “It’s a really interesting point, the fact is I’m bi-racial. I’m bi-racial and I think this colour isn’t [what] people should read about.”
“Tough doesn’t even describe how hard it’s been. But I hope that that sends the message, that’s the most important message for kids — to dream as big as possible and not give up.”