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Lewis Hamilton Won’t Be Silenced: My Whole Life There’s Been Scrutiny

Lewis Hamilton, the only black driver in Formula One, is choosing to mute the vitriol and criticism coming his way for his decision to use the platform to speak up on social issues like BLM and inequality.
Lewis Hamilton clears the air: he won't be silenced on BLM, inequality 3 photos
Lewis Hamilton wears Breonna Taylor T-shirt, could be in violation of FIA regulations because of itLewis Hamilton wears Breonna Taylor T-shirt, could be in violation of FIA regulations because of it
Following a few months of very heated and oftentimes controversy-stirring events, like almost being formally investigated for wearing a slogan T-shirt at pre- and post-race events and claiming a penalty was due to his being “singled out,” Hamilton is sitting down with Road & Track magazine to talk about his decision to get “political.” Just in case anyone had doubts, he knows it’s a controversial one with many Formula One fans and maybe even companies that work in the sports, but he is past the point of caring.

Admitting that he’s used to scrutiny and grown accustomed to “pushback,” but at the same time, no longer afraid for his job if he speaks out, Hamilton says his messages, such as they are, reach far more people than those who take offense. The time has come to use his high profile to affect change in issues that he takes personal interest in, and he’s made up his mind that he won’t be silenced anymore.

Hamilton recalls how it started, sitting down with his boss and discussed experiences he “hadn’t necessarily shared with him before.” “Why am I one of the only few people of color in the team?” was one such experience, and it was instrumental in getting the boss to agree to change the silver on the Mercedes into black “and stand against discrimination.”

But that’s just one tiny step.

“I think sports like mine, what we can do is change from within. We’re already seeing things like when the race starts, there’s a bit of video footage saying that we stand against racial injustice. That’s one step,” Hamilton continues. “In my business, there’s thousands of other partners. Every team has God knows how many sponsors. And then, people that we work with that supply brakes, or carbon materials, or whatever it may be. There are so many areas that we need to filter the message through.”

To those wondering why Hamilton is all of a sudden so “political,” the F1 champ has a very direct answer: because he’s been educating himself on the issues he’s speaking out, because he cares and because the timing is right. At the end of the day, what’s the point of adding to your medal collection if you don’t actually do something to make someone’s life better?

“It’s our responsibility to try and shift [the world] for our kids’ lives, our kids’ kids’ lives,” Hamilton says. “The children of the future. I feel great responsibility in that. That’s more important than any championship or any wins.”

 
 
 
 
 

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