Lewis Hamilton explains how his interests outside Formula 1, including his activism work, helped him “strike a balance” in his life.
In the last several years Lewis Hamilton has been very active in his quest to promote equality and racial justice.
Although some speculated that these interests are taking his attention off Formula 1, Lewis says they actually help him decompress from the stresses of the sport.
“I don’t have a problem with distraction,” Hamilton told reporters.
“I’ve been doing it a long time, so I know what I need to do to remain focused. I never take my eye off what my ultimate goal is in racing and winning the championship. But I have these other things that kind of help me strike a balance…
“I think when you have time separate from the races, when you’re trying to figure out what to apply your time and effort towards, sometimes you’re putting time and effort into something that doesn’t give anything back, right, or it doesn’t have any long-lasting impact, doesn’t have any real purpose.
“So to finally find something that has real purpose and real potential change and shift for the industry and for people, that feels super rewarding.
“So, yeah, to be able to focus on something other than racing, it’s great. It takes the pressure right off.”
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And as a person of colour in a predominantly white sport, Lewis know the challenges that need to be overcome all too well.
“When I was younger, it wasn’t a case of believing I could be different. I arrived and I knew I was different because it was pointed out to me.
“I guess I was very, very lucky to have that in my DNA I am a real fighter, not only on the track but in real life.
“I got bullied by multiple kids, but I’d still fight back, you know? I don’t run away. I think you never arrive in a class and think I’m different so I should be treated differently, regardless of whether that should be the case.
“It’s a difficult one to really pinpoint. I watched Ayrton Senna, and I don’t see him any different to me, while he is obviously different.
“Like all the kids out there, I see Superman. I don’t see that he’s white and doesn’t look like me. I just see him as an awesome character that goes around and saved people, right?
“But of course things are highlighted as you do grow and become more consciously aware of your surroundings and how you fit in or don’t fit in,” concluded the seven-time champion.