In 2019 Lewis Hamilton recorded his sixth Formula One Championship, surpassing Juan Manuel Fangio to take him one behind all-time leader Michael Schumacher. It marked the culmination of a brilliant year - scratch that, ‘decade’.
Not only did he successfully defend his title, clinching it at the U.S Grand Prix in November, eight months earlier in March Forbes had estimated that his career earnings had topped £375million ($489m), allowing him to become the highest-paid driver in the history of F1.
Underpinning everything is Hamilton’s desire for longevity and sustained success, not just as an athlete but as a person. To this extent, Hamilton’s advocacy of veganism has once again become prominent.
"Ultimately, you want to feel great. You want to have energy, to be consistent. You don’t want to have the big oscillations and highs and lows in your energy levels,” Hamilton stated in an interview with GQ.
“Veganism has eradicated that. When I was 22, it was raw talent. You’ve got an abundance of energy, you’re fit, there are no aches and pains.
“I’m always looking at how I can improve. Can my eyesight be better? Can my reactions be improved? Are there new ways of testing my reactions? The ergonomics in the car... how can I make everything simpler? There’s a multitude of things and I’m always trying to raise the bar.
Hamilton has declared that aside from improving his own well-being, the lifestyle choice complements his love and support of animal rights.
“We’re taught to drink milk and eat meat for protein and I started looking into other areas of research around all this,” he continued. “The first thing was, what’s happening to the animals? Secondly, the impact it can have on your body. That’s a free advantage I’m going to take.
“If no one else wants it, well that’s their loss."
Hamilton has been vegan since 2017, initially citing his family’s medical history as the reason for his dietary change.
“I can continue to decide to eat meat and take that risk,” he said at the time (via The Times), “I guess that’s your personal choice. But when you get a disease or illness like that, you want to make change, so I am trying to pre-empt that and hopefully it is a good direction.
“And by letting people who are following me know, maybe it will encourage a couple of people to do the same thing.”
Preceding that decision, the F1 driver had been predominantly pescatarian, stating that he had cut out red meat entirely from his diet two years earlier and sticking mainly to fish and chicken, before also removing the latter.
"As the human race, what we are doing to the world... the pollution [in terms of emissions of global-warming gases] coming from the amount of cows that are being produced is incredible,” Hamilton informed the BBC in September 2017.
"They say it is more than what we produce with our flights and our cars, which is kind of crazy to think. The cruelty is horrible and I don't necessarily want to support that and I want to live a healthier life.
"Every person I have met who has gone vegan says it is the best decision they have ever made.”
In 2018 he was executive producer of the documentary The Game Changers, which explored and advocated the benefits of turning vegan, alongside 16-time Grand Slam winning tennis pro Novak Djokovic.
The Serbian, who personally denounces the label, credited a plant-based diet on his way to the Wimbledon Championship in 2019. World Cup Winner Alex Morgan also follows a vegan diet, as does Oklahoma City Thunder’s point guard and National Basketball Players Association President Chris Paul, ultra-marathon runner Scott Jurek, and world-record breaking strongman Patrik Baboumian.
Lewis Hamilton begins his title defence with Mercedes at the Melbourne Grand Prix on March 15, 2020. The new season is expected to be his last with the constructor, with his contract in its final year.
His association with Veganism and as a visible face of it, however, shows no signs of abating.