Hamilton says winning is meaningless, "It’s the impact that you can have with it that really means something"
Lewis Hamilton has said winning grands prix and championships would mean nothing if he failed to use his platform to make positive change.
Hamilton has been outspoken in his mission to shape Formula 1 into a more inclusive environment with equal opportunities for all across the 2020 season to date.
Challenging the sport to be better, Hamilton told Formula1.com: "That’s an unbelievable power to have that we have today in the media, really being able to push for change.
“If I didn’t, I just feel ‘this is great winning these world championships, but what does that really mean?’. When you retire from racing and you have one or two or God knows how many world championships, what does it really mean? It doesn’t mean anything.
“It’s what you do with it. It’s the impact that you can have with it that really means something and so I feel that I would be doing a disservice to people, to my family, to my followers if I didn’t go and win these races and yes, we can go and have a good time and be uplifting, but over here we can push the drivers message of change and that’s how I am.”
The path has been far from simple however, and while using social media to promote his cause, there are those who use the platform to remind him that he is a sportsman and not a politician and to focus on his driving rather than the broader issues facing society.
Of these critics, Hamilton said: “I don’t ever listen to them. Telling me to stop one thing is not going to stop me from doing it and I hope, for everybody out there, nobody can tell you what to do."
He added: “If I was to retire a year ago, maybe nothing would have changed. I don’t know, but what I love to see right now is there is a sort of awakening. There are people slowly, still not everyone, you still have a lot of these teams not saying anything or holding themselves accountable, there’s still a lot of people out there, but it’s finding the balance and how you engage these people.
“I hope in ten years, I don’t want it to be in 20 years time, I hope in a short space of time we can see change, and I’m seeing people already. You’re seeing Chase and the sport, you’re seeing Jean who I’ve had a chat with and who’s hired a lady from Jamaica who is now working on the diversity campaign for the FIA, so you’re seeing things, but we need to stay on them and that’s part of my job being here.
“That means more to me than – if I’m able to look back in a years 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.”
Fighting for a record-equalling seventh world title, Hamilton was asked if he would give this up to see the societal changes he is campaigning for.
Unequivocally and without hesitation, Hamilton replied: “For the change? Sure.”
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