Lewis Hamilton would give up equalling Michael Schumacher's title record to improve diversity in F1

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Six-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton is enjoying another successful season with the Mercedes AMG F1 team and is currently sitting at the top of the Drivers’ Championships standings with 107 points - 30 more than teammate Valtteri Bottas in second.

The British driver is on track to equal Michael Schumacher’s record of seven titles, having already matched the German’s podium record at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix last weekend.

Hamilton has also worked hard to raise the profile of the Black Lives Matter movement in Formula 1 since the death of George Floyd in May.

In recent months, Hamilton has fought back against Bernie Ecclestone’s comments when the ex-F1 chief claimed that “a lot of black people are more racist than white people,” encouraged his fellow drivers to take the knee before races, and was part of the Mercedes team’s decision to swap its traditional silver livery for black this season to take a stand against racism and show the team’s commitment to diversity.

The British driver launched the Hamilton Commission on June 20, the purpose of which is to make motorsport “as diverse as the complex and multicultural world we live in."

Hamilton remains the only black driver to have raced in F1 in the sport’s history, and he has recently reaffirmed his commitment to encouraging more diversity in the paddock, telling F1TV that he is aiming to “shift the outlook of this sport and [make] it more accessible to people all over the world."

The 35-year-old said: “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.

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“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.”

Perhaps in reference to the drivers who have made the decision not to take the knee this season, Hamilton continued: “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.”

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In the interview, Hamilton suggested that leaving a lasting impact on the sport’s representation and diversity would be a greater legacy than matching Schumacher’s record, saying: “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."

It’s clear that Hamilton has done exceptional work to draw attention to the lack of diversity in F1 and motorsport, and it has been great to see him supported by some of his fellow drivers, including Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

Beyond his exceptional ability, his commitment to increasing diversity in F1 and condemning racism will only cement his image as one of the sport’s greats.

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