Lewis Hamilton may be known for his titles earned on the track, however, the 35-year-old has recently added to his list of accolades earned off it, after being named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2020.
This year could see Hamilton equal Michael Schumacher’s all-time record for the number of World Championships, and this weekend could also give Hamilton his 91st career win, equalling the German’s record which has stood since 2006.
As well as his unrivalled success on the track, the British driver has always been known for his activism.
The six-time World Champion is a vocal supporter of animal welfare and environmentalism and has used his platform to launch his own vegan burger restaurant.
Hamilton also owns a team in the new Extreme E electric off-road series, which will hold races in areas that are most threatened by climate change, raising awareness of the climate crisis. The team will also promote diversity in the sport and the driver hopes to create opportunities for mechanics and engineers from minority and ethnic backgrounds.
This season has played out in classic Hamilton fashion, with total domination on the track and passionate calls for change off it. The all-black liveries of the normally silver Mercedes F1 cars in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, and most recently his podium t-shirt calling for justice for Breonna Taylor show Hamilton’s drive for change.
These reasons only scratch the surface of Hamilton’s influence in the sport and highlight the reasons for his inclusion in TIME magazine’s list.
Hamilton’s profile for the magazine was written by Bubba Wallace, who said: "I'm the only black driver in NASCAR's top level, so Lewis' example - as the lone black F1 driver - is particularly meaningful for me. He shows we're out there doing it. To see him conquering the track damn near every weekend, it motivates me to try to do the same.
"His activism has also moved the world. Lewis has brought international attention to the Black Lives Matter movement, through his advocacy on social media and at F1 events. Lewis' mental preparation, his aura, his ability to capitalise on every opportunity to use his platform to drive out racism are more than just a model for race-car drivers and other athletes. He's an inspiration for everyone."
Wallace’s words put it better than many could of just how deserving Hamilton is of a spot on this list. His inclusion only solidifies his status as not just an F1 icon, but a sporting legend.
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