Lewis Hamilton’s activism over racism as well as speaking out on climate change has seen the six-time world champion included in TIME magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2020.
Hamilton has spurred Formula 1 into taking a strong and consistent stand against racism and championed the Black Lives Matter cause at Grand Prix events by pioneering drivers and team members ‘taking the knee’ before races.
He recently stirred controversy by wearing a T-shirt that said ‘Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor’ at the Tuscan Grand Prix in Mugello
Throughout, he’s had the backing of his Mercedes race team which changed the livery of this year’s W11 car to an all-black design to publicly show their support.
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NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace – who was himself at the centre of an alleged ‘hate crime’ incident earlier this year – paid tribute to Hamilton’s inclusion on this year’s list of politicians, businessmen, celebrities and musicians.
“I’m the only black driver in NASCAR’s top level, so Lewis’ example – as the lone black F1 driver – is particularly meaningful for me,” he told the magazine.
“He shows we’re out there doing it. To see him conquering the track damn near every weekend, it motivates me to try to do the same.
“His activism has also moved the world,” Wallace continued. “Lewis has brought international attention to the Black Lives Matter movement, through his advocacy on social media and at F1 events.
“Lewis’ mental preparation – his aura, his ability to capitalize on every opportunity to use his platform to drive out racism – are more than just a model for race-car drivers and other athletes. He’s an inspiration for everyone.”
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Hamilton is included in the ‘Titans’ category. He was previously named on the 2016 list, and his inclusion on that occasion was mainly related to his sporting achievements.
“You could tell Lewis Hamilton was special from the very start of his Formula 1 career,” Mario Andretti wrote in the accompanying feature.
This year, other famous faces from the world of sport to be included are SuperBowl-winning NFL quarterback Patrick Mahomes, recently retired NBA basketball player Dwayne Wade, and tennis star Naomi Osaka.
Also on the 2020 roll call are Black Lives Matter founders Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, as well as astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir, actors Michael Coel, Michael B Jordan and Selina Gomez and writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
Musician Yo-Yo Ma, medical expert Anthony Fauci, and politicians Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, Angela Merkel and Xi Jinping are also among those listed.
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TIME CEO and editor in chief Edward Felsenthal said that year’s list of influential people had a very different look to past years.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a big impact, while the explosion of the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers has profoundly changed perceptions and opinions.
“The TIME 100 has always been a mirror of the world and those who shape it,” Felsenthal explained.
“You will certainly find people who wield traditional power on this year’s list – heads of state, CEOs, major entertainers.
“[But] it also includes many extraordinary, lesser-known individuals who seized the moment to save lives, build a movement, lift the spirit, repair the world.
“Their work challenges each of us to wield our own influence toward a world that is healthier, more resilient, more sustainable and just.”
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