Lewis Hamilton finished sixth in last weekend’s inaugural Miami Grand Prix, but when it comes to speaking out against social injustice, he leads the elite racing circuit.
Hamilton, Formula One’s only Black driver and the circuit’s all-time winner, spent last week making headlines both on and off the track. After a leak revealed that the Supreme Court was on the verge of overturning Roe v. Wade, he took to Instagram to advocate for abortion rights.
He wore enough jewelry to make Slick Rick jealous in protest of a Formula One safety rule that prohibits drivers from wearing jewelry while racing. He even hosted Michelle Obama in the pits during his qualifying runs.
And he’s not going to stop reminding people that his sport is still woefully underrepresented in terms of diversity. In other words, Lewis Hamilton is the British celebrity athlete that Americans don’t realize they need.
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Lewis Hamilton is still as much of a game changer today as he was in 2008, when he became F1’s first black winner. The 37-year-old British racer is the most successful driver in series history, having shared a record seven titles with Michael Schumacher. Hamilton is the only black driver competing at the highest level of motorsports.
He uses his platform to advocate for social justice and race, as well as human rights and the LBGTQ community’s protection. When racing in countries with questionable human rights records or when an issue arises that he believes his voice can help to resolve, Hamilton speaks out.
Lewis Hamilton is a rarity as a Black driver in one of the richest sports in the world. He established the Hamilton Commission to investigate how to address his sport’s overwhelming whiteness and how to bring more diversity into STEM fields in general to address the lack of diversity in racing.
Formula One racing is a global sport known for both attracting elite athletes and for its racing. Pre- and post-race events are attended by heads of state, billionaires, sports figures, and entertainers, with many arriving by megayacht.
Because the Miami Grand Prix was held in the Miami Gardens neighborhood, F1 constructed a fictitious marina large enough to hold ten scaled-down yachts just for the race.