Lewis Hamilton envisions that “positive change will come” from the renewed push to stamp out racism across the world – he is himself a trailblazer on the racing circuit as a person of colour who has taken on the perceived double standards in the world of professional motor racing. Widely regarded as one of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport, Hamilton’s public image goes beyond Formula One (F1) – and his exploits as a six time world champion – to encompass philanthropic endeavours that have garnered a wider audience the world over.
DATE OF BIRTH
7 January 1985
The best paid F1 driver today
First and only black driver to race in F1
He is the most marketable driver in the sport
Among the world’s highest paid athletes
You can knock me down but I get up twice as strong
Q: What makes Lewis Hamilton the king of the F1 track today?
A: Hamilton credits his successful racing career to his father who, despite their modest finances, encouraged go-karting at a young age and was his manager for 18 years.
Young Hamilton was a risk taker, and this resulted in him being unable to win races due to his rash decisions and driving. However, learning from his mistakes, he grew to become a matured driver.
Q: And what lessons can we learn from his life?
A: While COVID-19 disrupted lives, F1 organisers were preoccupied with finances and racing.
I admire Hamilton for being one of the first people to boldly speak out against racing in Malaysia during the pandemic, declaring that health and safety must be prioritised over racing. This was at the cost of his own anticipation of equalling Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world titles this season.
His humility, willingness to learn, courage and good principles are often missed by the public, but they have contributed to making Hamilton the winner he is today both on and off the track.
Q: How can Sri Lanka reach the next level in motor racing?
A: Many have raced and brought go-karts to Sri Lanka, built karting tracks, donated go-karts and helped purchase race cars, and encouraged young ones with the art of racing confidently while staying in control – these endeavours have been fairly successful.
The governing body overseeing racing must comprise people of a certain standing who are genuinely vested in the sport – preferably former racers who understand the disadvantages and advantages of the sport, and are not personally affiliated with present racing drivers so as to discourage bias or favouritism.
Moreover, racers and authorities should be disciplined individuals. Punctuality is a key discipline that must be inculcated from the beginning if one desires to succeed and improve the state of motor racing in Sri Lanka.
Furthermore, a proper motor racing foundation must be established for aspiring drivers, taking them from the basics of go-karting to F1 racing.
Classic car collector and enthusiast
Former professional race car driver
Malala Yousafzai only recently graduated from university and yet, she’s had a more profound impact on the world than most could dream of. Perhaps being the daughter of an education activist provided the confidence to press forward with her agenda but it in no way diminishes the courage she displayed following an attack on her…
Dame Anna Wintour is widely considered to be among the most influential figures in fashion, earning recognition for her eye for trends and supporting young designers. Beginning her career in fashion journalism with two British magazines, she is credited with reviving Vogue and revolutionising the industry in her role as its Editor-in-Chief. She was also…
Oprah Winfrey’s signature catchphrase (among others) goes something like this: “You get a car! You get a car! Everybody gets a car!” As far as magnanimous TV show giveaways are concerned, Oprah sets the bar. Her sense of generosity has won hearts the world over and the fact that she’s overcome many a struggle in…
Serena Williams is hailed as one of the best female tennis players in the Open Era. Her entry on the court meant a shakeup of the global tennis order. A role model and one of the most recognisable faces in the sport, Williams is also known for her style statements – both on and off…
Justin Trudeau is no stranger to the political arena, being one of only two children to be born into a prime minister in office in Canada. A teacher by profession, his ascension to the role of Canadian PM in 2015 meant he’d carry on the Trudeau dynasty – but with a new age philosophy to…
Greta Thunberg is credited for inspiring an international movement to fight climate change. Launching her campaign in 2018 with a protest in front of the Swedish Parliament House when she was 15, the teenager urged students around the world to join her and inspired more than 20,000 in several countries to demonstrate and call for…
Kumar Sangakkara has been described as an elegant batsman, a reliable wicketkeeper and an astute thinker during his cricketing career – and together with his close friend Mahela Jayawardene, he was the cornerstone of Sri Lankan cricket’s leadership for some 15 years. An iconic brand ambassador for Sri Lanka for more than a decade, Sangakkara…
Michelle Obama is such a popular figure that many of her fellow citizens wish she’d run for office – even if she seems to promptly decline the offer on any given occasion. More recently, the Grammy Award winning former First Lady of the US has inspired people across the world through her memoir Becoming, which…
Barack Obama altered the course of history when he became President of the US – and he continues to act as a symbol of hope for millions of Americans who have faced untold discrimination at the hands of their more privileged oppressors. His presidential successor may be termed the ‘Tweeter-in-chief’ (mainly for his frequent social…
Elon Musk has looked to revolutionise transportation by introducing fully electric vehicles on a large scale. Focussing on the internet, space and clean energy, the entrepreneur and self-made billionaire – who counts an estimated new worth of almost US$ 43 billion – is widely regarded as an inspirational figure in tech; and he has declared…
Angela Merkel is considered the de facto leader of the EU… unsurprisingly so. The record four time German Chancellor, who is a scientist by profession, has often been called upon to play peacemaker in a region fraught with diverse interests. Amid an apparent shift to insularism in neighbouring Britain as well as across the Atlantic,…
Emmanuel Macron assumed the role of President of France as recently as May 2017 and his new age political philosophy is attributed to his election to the highest office in the land. The investment banker turned politician established a liberal and progressive movement – En marche – as part of his presidential bid, drawing the…