When you think of an athlete who’s had a long, unprecedented run at the top of their sport and has all of the bases covered from iconic status to current activism, nobody is serving it up like Formula One racing legend Lewis Hamilton. Bubba Wallace did his thing for NASCAR, but despite his popularity, he’s yet to win a race on the circuit. Serena has been quiet lately,
Here’s why Lewis Hamilton has elevated to the top of the list of Black GOAT athletes of today.
Lewis Hamilton Will End His Racing Career As The GOAT
Hamilton dominated the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend to take his fourth victory in six races so far this year. It was the 88th victory of Hamilton’s career and he is now just three from Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of wins. It was also his 156th podium finish, a new record, beating the previous mark, also held by Schumacher.
Tiger vs. Lewis
This is significant because it can be argued that no Black athletes in the past 25 years have dominated their respective sports like Tiger Woods and Lewis Hamilton. Both are Black men without peers and nothing left to accomplish other than eclipsing the all-time records of the white, golden ghosts of yesterday.
Tiger has more official PGA career wins than Jack (82-73), but Nicklaus has 18 majors to Tiger’s 15 and despite Tiger’s incredible comeback in recent years, it’s getting more unlikely that he will surpass The Golden Bear. Woods has also been known to stay quiet on issues of race and policing and he’s stayed true to this approach during this transformative tie in our country.
Hamilton, however, is still in his prime, and the way he is in his bag, it’s only a matter of time before he becomes Formula One racing’s undisputed all-time king. As his platform continues to expand, his message of equality continues to resonate.
Enduring Racism, Social Injustice
Hamilton is the rarest of aberrations as the first and only black driver to race in Formula One. Naturally, he’s been subject to racist abuse by fans and media throughout his incomparable career, which began in 2007. The George Floyd murder and subsequent protests inspired Lewis and his racing allies to join marches and become vocal leaders in the fight for equality.
Using Platform To Erase Racism
Rocking “Black Lives Matter” on the top of his helmet, “Hamilton restated his determination to ensure the momentum for change would not be lost,” according to theguardian.com
“It is important to continue to push,” he said. “There are many, many companies here that have not held themselves accountable. And there are a lot of people out there in the world who haven’t.”
Protecting Black Women
“In America, for example,” Lewis says, “there are still policemen living a normal life even though they killed an innocent individual. Breonna Taylor [shot dead in her Louisville apartment], there have been so many of them where nobody has been brought to justice and we have to continue to fight for that.”
Despite being the lone Black, British voice in Formula One, Hamilton has never stayed silent in order to fit in. His honesty hasn’t always served him well, but it’s not his style to just blend into the background. He understands the importance of his voice and platform and the challenges facing his brothers and sisters in sports.
In 2017, Hamilton showed he had Serena Williams’ back after she was subjected to racist comments by Ilie Nastase.
“I’m very much with her in what she said, he said to reporters in Sochi. I thought it was beautiful what she wrote as a powerful, independent black woman. I just think she’s awesome. She’s not only one of the greatest people I know, but she’s just a born leader and so rather than react in a negative way, reading what she’s written just inspires me and hopefully inspires others.”
In two sports not traditionally recognized as being destinations for people of color, it was good to see that the two best in their respective sports had each other’s backs.
Paid Like A Mogul With the Hunger Of A Winless Rookie
Forbes announced the top moneymakers in sports from the last ten years back in December of 2019. Lewis Hamilton was No. 10 at $400 million, one slot behind NBA star and multi-media maven Kevin Durant at $425 million.
Hamilton’s latest win catapults him to a healthy 37-point lead in the championship rankings with 132 points. The six-time Formula One world champ with more money than some countries, still strives for career-defining performances. His Spanish F1 GP win comes on the heels of a disappointing run at Silverstone. It was important for his Mercedes team to get out to a good start and crush the hopes of the challengers.
Hamilton proved once again that his flame still burns and produced what he calls one of the “best drives” of his illustrious career.
“We all try for perfection and it is not always easy to deliver,” he said. “When I came across the line I didn’t know it was the last lap, I was like a horse with blinkers. I was just going to keep going. For me it was right up there with some of the best drives I have done.”
Hamilton’s got it all covered and Americans will just have to get over the fact that the most dominant athlete in sports today is British