Hamilton says F1 career has been “quite a lonely journey” as star seeks change

Lewis Hamilton has spoken of his "lonely journey" in F1 after again calling for more diversity in the sport.

Hamilton debuted with McLaren in 2007, securing a third-placed podium finish in his debut Grand Prix in Australia. He came desperately close to an historic world title win that season, but missed out in the final race to Kimi Raikkonen.

He has since gone on to become one of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport, equalling Michael Schumacher's record of seven world titles. Only a dubious safety car procedure at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix cost him an eighth world crown to Max Verstappen.

Alongside his on-track success though, Hamilton has long tried to use his platform as a vehicle for change. In recent seasons, he has frequently worn t-shirts bearing poignant slogans, as well as taking the knee before races.

Last year, he wore a rainbow coloured helmet at events in the Middle East, to highlight LGTBQ plus issues. However, despite pressing for greater diversity, he remains the only black driver on the F1 circuit.

"It's been genuinely quite a lonely journey," he said on the ABC show in America. "Me and my family were the only black family. I've been racing 29 years, I'm 37 now. But I've been professional for 16 years and always most often being the only person of colour in the room."

At the end of 2019, the Mercedes man set about making changes by establishing The Hamilton Commission, designed to improve the representation of Black people in UK motorsport. He first came up with the idea after reviewing the end of season driver photo.

"And when I asked the question there was no real great feedback answer to that question so I put together the Hamilton Commission because it starts with education and understanding," he added.

Since then, he's claimed the organisation has made real progress – and not just within F1: "We found there are not only in our industry where we have over 40,000 jobs but only 1% come from black backgrounds, but there are real systemic issues within the educational system as well," he added.

"With the Hamilton Commission we've now started mission 44 which I've funded myself to try and create more representation, support and empowerment for these young under-served groups." Hamilton is in the US ahead of this weekend's inaugural Miami Grand Prix.

The 37-year-old will be looking to address his poor start to the season, which has seen him amass just 28 points from four races. That leaves him 58 off overall leader Charles Leclerc, and the British icon has already written off his title chances.

His struggles led to suggestions he would soon be retiring from the sport. However, he took to social media last week to dispel those rumours, posting "I’ll be the one to decide," in terms of his career finishing.

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