It has been a busy couple of weeks for Lewis Hamilton. In between winning the Canadian and French Grand Prix, making it six wins out of eight this season, he also attended the World Motorsport Council meeting in Paris to discuss large-scale changes that could be made in Formula One to make it more exciting for the viewers. In every term of the word, Hamilton is turning out to be “role model” for aspiring middle-class children across the globe.
Hamilton has humble origins…
His grandparents emigrated from Spain in the 1950s, his parents divorced when he was still a child and his father had to work triple shifts to fund his pursuits. It was an extremely challenging childhood for Hamilton, who often accompanied his father in the garage all night long to prepare himself for the next race.
Having been born in Stevenage in England and having lived in council flats all his life, Hamilton got his big break when McLaren Formula 1 team noticed him and helped him hone his talents. It was his hard-work and unfaltering dedication to the job that has made him the five-time World Champion that he is today.
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He is a true champion on the field…
Lewis Hamilton’s achievements are unmatched on the circuit. He is often considered the best racing driver of this generation and is a strong candidate for the greatest driver in the history of the sport, winning five World Champions, more than any other British racer, ever. He also holds records for the more rare victories(79), all-time most career points(3205), most wins at different circuits(26), all-time most pole positions(86) and most grand slams in a season(3).
Having won his first title for McLaren in 2008, becoming the youngest driver in the sports’ history to win one. He repeated the feat for Mercedes in 2014 and 2015, and then again in 2017 and 2018. His talent and dedication was evident in his first year in F1 in 2007, when he picked up the Youngest World Driver’s Championship runners-up, a record that was subsequently broken by Sebastian Vettel in 2009.
Having joined the legion of Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher last year as racers with five or more World Championships, Hamilton looks as unstoppable as ever this season. At 34, he has already etched his name in history books but there is no lack of motivation from his end despite all the success. His team, Mercedes has won all the races so far, and he already sits a comfortable 36 points ahead of his team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the Drivers’ Championship Table. If he can keep up his pace, the season should already be over by the time the Monza Grand Prix rolls in and Hamilton would be a six-time champion.
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But Hamilton’s influence stretches off the field as well…
The numbers will never justify Hamilton’s influence on the sport; they will only portray his utter dominance. However, he remains one of the few “middle-class drivers”, in his own words to make it in a sport dominated by rich white men. It is a spectacular achievement, yet the Brit is hardly credited for it, even in his own country.
First off, Hamilton comes off as a God-fearing, hard-working passionate person who has had to ruthlessly prepare for whatever he has been given. Moreover, unlike most celebrities, he is not addicted to any sort of substance abuse and admitted on live television that he had given up alcohol a “few years ago”. He celebrates his wins with a glass of fruit juice, has rarely been involved in controversies or scandals the likes of which are synonymous with F1 and often speaks out on important societal issues like racism and corruption, which have been often misconstrued like his comments on the Indian Grand Prix and how he felt that he was felt “conflicted” in racing in a country that was economically not as good as it should be.
He also spoke out defending the black footballers who faced racist chants in European football circuits in March, stating,” It is crazy to think that at this time in the world, racism is still such a prominent thing. It is really there, all around the world, and a real issue, which is sad to see. It doesn’t seem like it is going to migrate much over the next few years. It's great to see people standing by in support, but it doesn't look like it's something that's going to particularly change for a long time."
Most recently, he spoke on the topic of making F1 competitive and fun for the audience and not a sport besmirched with the hegemony of the top teams like Ferrari, Mercedes, and Red Bull. The defending champion asked for a “dramatic overhaul” within the sport, asking all stakeholders to work towards bringing big changes from the 2021 season.
In a world dominated by which athlete has how many followers on Instagram and who is holding which institution hostage to carve out a better deal, it is refreshing to see Hamilton speak on issues that are far more important and relevant to mankind as a whole. Maybe, in due course, he will get his dues but I am sure, that does not bother the superstar too much. After all, as the tattoo on his shoulder says,” Still I rise” means that no matter what, Lewis Hamilton will not stop fighting for the right causes.