Hamilton intends to stay in F1 and “not ignore human rights issues in countries we go to” · RaceFans

by Nov 15, 20200 comments

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Lewis Hamilton says he is motivated to keep racing in Formula 1 because of the difference he can make to the world.

The Mercedes driver, who clinched his seventh world championship today, is yet to confirm his plans for next year. Speaking after his victory in the Turkish Grand Prix, Hamilton said he intends to stay.

“I feel physically in great shape, and mentally,” he said. “This year, I know for so many people out there that this has been the hardest year, probably for millions of people. I know things always look great on here, on the big stage, but it’s no different for us athletes and this has been a challenge that I didn’t know how to get through.

“But with the help of great people around me helping my team through the help of Team LH, I managed to just keep my head above water and stay focussed. So I’m really hopeful for a better year next year and I would love to stay.”

In a season which was heavily disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, Hamilton has used his high-profile position within the sport to lobby for greater diversity and sustainability. “We’ve got a lot of work to do here,” he said today.

“That we’ve only just begun our work to hold ourselves accountable as a sport, to realise that we’ve got to face and not ignore the human rights issues that are around the countries that we go to. How can we engage with those countries and help them empower them to do more to really change – not 10 years from now, 20 years from now – now.

“I want to help Formula 1. I want to help Mercedes in that journey and also particularly becoming more sustainable as a sport. The whole thing, we need to be more sustainable. And I want to try and see if I can be part of that, at least the initial phase of that for a little bit longer.”

Hamilton’s championship success makes him the first driver to equal Michael Schumacher’s record of winning seven world titles. He said the achievement left him “a bit lost for words.”

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“Naturally, I always have to start by saying a huge thank you to all the guys that are here and all of the guys back at both of our factories and all our partners for enabling us and giving us this opportunity.

“I wouldn’t be able to do this if I didn’t join this team and the journey we’ve been on has been monumental. I’m so proud of them. I want to also say a big, big thank you to Team LH for sticking with me all these years and thank you to my family.”

Hamilton had to work hard for his 10th victory of the season during a wet race that saw him gradually work his way to the front after starting from sixth on the grid.

“Today we knew coming here it was already such a difficult weekend,” says Hamilton. “We weren’t really massively disappointed with our qualifying position. We knew that we were kind of on the back foot and we did the best we could.

“There was a point where Seb[astian Vettel] was pulling away from me and I couldn’t figure out at the time what it was. I was checking my temperatures and I didn’t know whether it was because my tyres were overheating or because they were too cold.

“But they got to a bit of a drier patch. I think they went through the real rough phase with the graining of the tyre and they started to come back. The track was drying in areas and I was improving my driving lines the whole way through the race, so I started to pick up pace.”

Hamilton says that becoming only the second driver ever alongside Michael Schumacher to win seven world drivers championships is something “beyond our dreams”.

“We dreamed of this when we were young, when we were watching the grand prix,” Hamilton says.

“This is way, way beyond our dreams and I think it’s so important for kids out there to hopefully see this and know – don’t listen to anybody who tells you can’t achieve something. Dream the impossible and speak it into existence. You’ve got to work for it, you’ve got to chase it and you’ve got to never give up and never doubt yourself.”

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