Lewis Hamilton is 'much prouder' of his push for equality than his fight for a seventh F1 title
Published Friday, November 13, 2020 12:44PM EST
Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP is seen wearing a black lives matter t-shirt prior to the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 19, 2020 in Budapest, Hungary. (Mark Thompson/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images via CNN)
Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton says campaigning for equal rights has made him "much prouder" than possibly clinching a seventh world title this season.
The six-time champion is on the verge of equaling Michael Schumacher's record of seven titles and can pull level with the icon at the Turkish Grand Prix on Sunday.
However, Hamilton says his work on tackling social injustices and his push for diversity means more to him than any record.
"Winning a world championship is very much a personal thing ... and that doesn't necessarily impact people's lives," he told reporters ahead of this weekend's race.
"Something I'm much prouder of (is) trying to improve conditions for people around the world. That's the most important thing for me."
Hamilton is one of many high-profile athletes to use their platform to support the Black Lives Matter movement this year.
He has continued to take a knee ahead of races and has called for the end of police brutality.
Hamilton, the only Black driver on the grid, stood atop the podium after victory at the Tuscan Grand Prix in September with the words "ARREST THE COPS WHO KILLED BREONNA TAYLOR" emblazoned on his shirt.
The 35-year-old also insisted his sport must do more in the fight against racism earlier this year and criticized some of his rival drivers for not taking the issue seriously enough.
"The numbers and the figures and the titles and all that stuff perhaps appears to mean more from the outside," Hamilton continued.
"I remember watching Michael (Schumacher) get seven and thinking: 'Wow.' But when you're in it, it's different.
"We're going to continue to fight for more championships, continue to try to improve and continue to race and do what we love doing.
"What's important is the journey this year has been combined with the fight for equality and a real growing process of learning what's happening around the world and being more aware of surroundings and starting to see progress with that."
Hamilton will win the driver's championship this weekend as long as teammate Valtteri Bottas fails to beat him by eight points.
The Briton has already broken Schumacher's record of 91 race wins but says he'd be "incredibly proud" of matching his record title haul.
"But it's more the message it sends to not just kids, but mostly kids, that you have to dream bigger than you think you can dream and don't let anyone tell you you can't go for that," he said.
Despite his unrivaled success, Hamilton's future is still uncertain.
His contract at Mercedes expires at the end of the season and no decision has yet been made about what comes next.
"I am very conscious of the idea I want to continue with Mercedes. I would love to help them on this quest of pushing for change," he said.
"They are taking their cars green, electrifying more, I want to help them on that road, I want to help them pushing for diversity. There is a lot to discuss and a lot to go through but it is something we will do if not after the job is done at the end of the year.
"Nothing is set in stone -- it is just about talking about it. I don't feel I'm finished.
"I love racing and the challenge and I don't think that is going to change any time soon."