By Carol M. Creasey
Back in March of last year, after Formula One teams travelled to Melbourne, and the race was subsequently cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it seemed there might not be any racing in 2020.
Lewis Hamilton was the only driver to speak up and say they should not even be there. With all the training the drivers had done, suddenly they all found themselves on sabbatical. Racing resumed in July, with a shortened calendar of 17 races. Before that, in May, George Floyd met a tragic death at the hands of a police officer, which prompted Lewis Hamilton to speak out boldly against this huge injustice, reminding everyone that Black Lives Matter.
Lewis has a strong bond with his family, but he was so focused on keeping himself safe and defending his championship, that he lived mostly in his motorhome, not risking staying in hotels, nor going out to dinner, nor seeing his family.
Whilst urging us all to keep safe, he spoke many times about how he struggled with the loneliness, and what a hard year it has been. In spite of all his precautions, Lewis still caught COVID-19 and, although his symptoms were mild, he experienced fatigue and lack of energy afterwards. However, this only made him more determined to get himself fit again.
These were all very challenging things he faced, but instead of knocking him down, they made him even stronger. He broke more records this year and achieved more race wins than Michael Schumacher! He has won numerous awards, they just keep on coming. And, just to round off 2020, not only has he been voted Sports Personality of the Year by the British Public, but he has also been awarded the very rare honour of a knighthood, so from now on he is Sir Lewis!
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Here we have a man who doesn’t just talk about what he wants to do, he gets on with it. He has set up the Hamilton Commission to create opportunities for black people in motorsport, he continues to support the Black Lives Matter movement, insisting there is more work to be done, with full backing of Mercedes and The FIA.
He is not detracted by some people saying he should stick to driving, because it’s too political. Even if it makes him unpopular with certain individuals, he is not after popularity, he is after justice for those that need it. Anyone who opposes that needs to look at their own attitude, and wonder why they think he is wrong.
Sir Lewis has had a truly amazing year, which will go down in history for all the right reasons for him. His inspiration has been a beacon of hope for others. It would seem that apart from an eighth championship, he hasn’t much else left to achieve. However, because of who he is, in 2021 I am sure he will reach new heights, because he is always looking for improvement both on and off the track.
Congratulations Sir Lewis, you have done Britain proud!
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