Lewis Hamilton has revealed the Black Lives Matter movement helped drive him on to a record-equalling seventh Formula One title.
The Briton took a knee on the grid and wore anti-racism slogans in support of the cause during the season, while his Mercedes team also adopted a black livery for the 2020 campaign in a stand against discrimination.
Sitting in as guest editor on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Boxing Day, Hamilton told Professor David Olusoga: “I had this extra drive in me this year to get to the end of those races.
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) October 10, 2020
“It was a different drive than what I’ve had in me in the past, to get to the end of those races first so that I could utilise that platform (for Black Lives Matter) and shine the light as bright as possible.”
Asked by Olusoga if he had been concerned about the response to his stance, Hamilton replied: “There is no way that I could stay silent. And once I said that to myself, I didn’t hold any fear.”
Hamilton was also asked by presenter Nick Robinson about racism in his sport and the fact that he is the only black Formula One driver.
He said: “There are many other young kids of colour that deserve the opportunity to progress, have a great education, be an engineer or whatever it is they want. But the fact is, the opportunity is not the same for them.”
The Mercedes driver also hinted that activism might represent a new avenue for him when he retires from Formula One.
“The happiness and success of winning these championships is a wonderful thing, but it’s short-lived,” he added.