Does the true significance of Lewis Hamilton’s seventh world title stretch beyond just the record-breaking sporting achievement? For it is not just the statistics which are unprecedented, so too are the circumstances in play as he’s finally broken the all-time record of Michael Schumacher (with an equal number of titles and greater number of race wins). Hamilton’s transition from F1 star to global influencer is perhaps the most significant thing to have hit the sport at a time when almost all of its traditional values are being questioned.
The ‘nothing as it was’ circumstances of the global pandemic have played their part in Hamilton stepping up his role of global campaigner in 2020. “Not being at work this year has given many people more time to realise the magnitude of the situation and allow them to protest,” points out Hamilton. His environmental campaign was already well established before this year but was low-key compared to his embracing of the Black Lives Matter movement.
His leading of the drivers in taking the knee pre-race and his imploring of the sport to follow in the equality message to the world in the post-George Floyd age has cast him in a new light as an icon who transcends the sport.