On and off the track, Lewis Hamilton is simply brilliant. From the day he made his F1 debut at the age of 22, to winning his first Championship title a year later on the final corner of the final race, to equalling Michael Schumacher’s record seven titles in 2020, we have always known there was something special about the British driver. Now with a straight named after him at Silverstone, and the newly crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year, he is a certified F1 legend, but he has also turned heads away from the track and we love him for it.
Here are five reasons why we think Lewis Hamilton is the ultimate modern day sporting icon.
2020 saw a whole host of movements but none more hard-hitting or emotive than the Black Lives Matter protests that were seen around the world after the death of George Floyd. As a proud black Brit and the only black Formula One world champion in history, Hamilton was keen to have his voice heard on the matter and throw his support behind the campaign.
At the Austrian Grand Prix in 2020 he wore a helmet displaying the message ‘Black Lives Matter’ while he has taken a knee before every race this season. In a world which has seemed full of hatred and racism, Hamilton has used his status for good and inspired other people to take a stand.
Nobody races with the intensity or aggression quite like Lewis does. He is the most entertaining driver on the circuit, and ever since his youthful exuberance shook up Formula One in 2007 we have seen some brilliant manoeuvres from the Brit. But perhaps more importantly, his mindset has never held him back.
Even in his debut season he was there to win, not to make up the numbers. He ruffled the feathers of the big boys, coming within a point of winning the title and having a giant falling-out with Fernando Alonso (more on that later). This mindset has carried him from young pretender to one of the finest racing drivers of all time, and next season he can break Michael Schumacher’s record of seven Formula One championships.
His love of animals
Lewis Hamilton is a massive animal lover and has once again become a role model and inspiration for those of us looking to lead a healthier and more conscious life. Back in 2017 he turned vegan, which eradicated his energy dips, but in 2018 he made even bigger strides forward and became PETA’s person of the year.
He won the award for posting to his 20 million followers on Instagram about his vegan diet, inspiring many of them to follow in his footsteps. Going vegan may not be for everyone, but helping the planet and inspiring others to live a healthier lifestyle certainly is.
What is Lionel Messi without Cristiano Ronalo? What was Muhammad Ali without Joe Frazier? Rivalries can elevate a sportsperson into a different stratosphere, and Lewis Hamilton has had some tense altercations during his 13 seasons in F1, which have led to epic battles on and off the track.
First there was Fernando Alonso. Their toxic rivalry began as McLaren paired world champ Alonso with rookie prodigy Hamilton, with the Brit was receiving preferential treatment according to the Spaniard. These two hated each other, with their spat spilling over onto the track as Alonso blocked Hamilton in the pits at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
There were rivalries with fellow Brit Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg to follow, with the latter causing real problems at Mercedes. The pair ignored team orders, attempting to overtake each other and ending up colliding on several occasions. This is the sort of stuff we simply love to see in sport. Hamilton has provided us with all of the drama, and has become the perfect sporting hero we need heading into 2021.
His fashion sense
Unrivaled talent? Check. Loads of dosh? Check. A desire to win at all costs? Check. Now the final thing the 21st century sportsperson needs to have is a top level wardrobe. Conor McGregor leads the way, Cristiano Ronaldo is always stylish, and Lewis Hamilton loves to make a statement.
From his own range of Tommy Hilfiger cargo joggers to his Givenchy jackets, style and fashion seem to come naturally to the seven-time champ, although some of his choices have been a bit outlandish. We’re looking at the suede Christian Louboutin loafers paired with Haider Ackermann Mixed-Broken-Stripe Jacquard Vest. Bold. Brave. Hamilton.