Lewis Hamilton believes winning a seventh world championship will be a powerful weapon in his personal fight against racism.
The 35-year-old begins his quest to match Ferrari great Michael Schumacher’s record title haul at the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday.
That quest was due to get underway three and a half months ago but F1’s traditional curtain-raiser in Australia was axed at the eleventh hour due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Since then the defending champion has emerged as a leading voice in the fight against racism through the Black Lives Matter movement.
Hamilton wants more to be done in the fight for equality but is determined to play his part by securing what he considers the ultimate triumph.
He said: “Winning the title this year would mean more than ever before being that it is such a momentous year in the sense of this pandemic, which we are still fighting.
“But then on a more personal level and the Black Lives Matter [movement] and fighting for injustice and equality that, being in that time to be also fighting for something so important.
“It is not going to change in our time, our generation but for our kids, it is such an important moment for us, so yes, winning the world title during this time would be even more important.”
In the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of the police, Hamilton criticised his sport’s failure to combat racism.
He attended a march in London last month and encouraged his Mercedes team to adopt a black livery for the new season.
Hamilton’s car will also carry a ‘End Racism’ message while he has outlined plans to launch the Hamilton Commission in order to diversify the sport.
But as the drivers discuss taking a knee before Sunday’s race, the Brit has called on his rivals to do more.
“I’ve definitely not heard anything from any of the other teams as far as I’m aware,” he added. “The callout was really for everyone in this industry.
“It’s not something that’s been on the top of my mind. It’s not really been a priority for me, with a plan to kneel at the start line.
“It will be interesting to see if any of the other teams are doing anything, but we will I’m sure as drivers all stand to represent something.”
“Whatever we do, we’ll try to do it united. I think it’s really important that we remain united, or we become united in this sport. We really do have to fight for the injustices and the equality.
“There’s so many great jobs here, there’s so many opportunities, but none so far, or very very few opportunities, have been shown to minorities. So I think we do really have to push, and more needs to be done for sure.
“Everyone has an opinion as to why we don’t have more diversity here, but I should be able to come to you with factual results that show us how and why we can change it.”