Strongly committed to diversity and inclusion, Lewis Hamilton took advantage of his August summer break to explore the African continent. The opportunity for the Mercedes F1 driver to continue his fight, while taking time to refocus in the midst of a difficult sporting season.
“In life, we tend to take things for granted because they’re there. But this puts them into perspective. Seeing the animals in their natural habitat, I was like ‘wow.’ When we were in Tanzania, I felt like I was in Tanzania the lion king in the afternoon I was working out in the gym and there were zebras or elephants outside, I came back to my room and there were elephants 50 meters away, “wow”.
“Africa also has rich cities and big companies, but I really wanted to be in the heart of the continent. I had been to South Africa before, went on safari and met Nelson Mandela and his family… But I have arrived to another stage of my life now.”
“I got to enjoy the experience a lot more this time. And it was fun. My friends and I laughed a lot, to the point of side stitches, which never happens. Not often at work. So it went be very nice.”
Hamilton wants to race in Africa before leaving F1
While Stefano Domenicali wants F1 to return to Kyalami in South Africa, Lewis Hamilton fully supports the discipline’s CEO.
“We’re present on every continent, so why not? We have so many places and communities to stand out in, so there’s no reason not to come back to Africa.”
“I’m working as hard as I can with Stefano behind the scenes to make it happen. It would also be one of my dreams before I left motorsport, racing in Africa would be fantastic. But my time there, after “having seen all this. children on the street, it shows what can be done for all these communities that don’t have the same opportunities as us, whether it’s clothes or other things, there are a lot of good organizations, so I’m looking at how I can get involved “.
Hamilton acknowledges that in his fight to promote equality and diversity, and as F1 travels to certain countries that are not always respectful of certain human rights, receiving criticism is unfortunately part of the inevitable elements.
“I try not to worry about these things because I have no control. Sometimes you’re in an awkward situation when you talk about things, it’s certainly not easy. I’m just trying to better understand how the place I’m going works. The thing is, you can’t change the world in a short amount of time. So I just try to be understanding with people with a different culture or religion and that kind of thing.”
Hamilton has the new generation of drivers
At 37, the seven-time world champion knows most of his career is behind him. Is he afraid that his fight will be abandoned once he retires?
“It’s not easy for the younger people coming in. I hope when they get to a certain age they understand that. But that wasn’t the case for me when I was in my twenties and I think it’s part of your journey, so I hope the young people of today they will speak up in the future because it is their responsibility. We have to ensure that they continue to do the right things for the right reasons.”
But Hamilton for reassurance: once he hangs up his helmet, he has no intention of giving up the fight.
“I’ll always be a fan of the sport, even if I’m not involved anymore. And I hope Stefano is still here for a long time. I’ll keep in touch by phone to say, ‘Why don’t you do this?’ Not “you don’t do enough”. So it’s always going to be me who hopefully leads to interesting conversations.”