British Formula One star Lewis Hamilton continues to dominate in a sport where many don’t look like him.
His checkered-flag performance on Sunday under the Losail lights in the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix is something his fans and those who follow the sport are accustomed to.
The now-36-year-old came into this sport as a 22-year-old prodigy in 2007. Now what some would call an elder statesman, Hamilton seems to be getting better with age.
The Mercedes driver’s 25.7-second victory from the pole position was one of Hamilton’s best of the season, and it also allowed him to gain ground arch-rival Max Verstappen, who finished second and saw his slim lead in driver’s championship race shrink from 14 points to eight with two races left on this season’s F1 calendar.
First look at LH’s new lid. 🌈😍 pic.twitter.com/kpS2YwkKyJ
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) November 19, 2021
Everything was set for Sunday’s performance by Hamilton’s brilliant qualifying session on Saturday, when he found his way around the 3.343-mile circuit in 1:20.827, nearly half a second faster than the Red Bull driver Verstappen.
“I found a lot of areas where I could improve, made some changes for P3 [the third practice session], and it seemed to work, and then of course you’ve got to try and carry through into qualifying but I’m so grateful for the things they put us out on track, we didn’t have any traffic,” Hamilton said Saturday.
“And then the last [qualifying] lap was beautiful. It was really a sweet lap. This track is amazing to drive, it’s incredibly fast, all medium and high-speed corners.”
Hamilton’s Big Win Sunday Cuts Into Versteppen’s Points Lead
In typical Hamilton fashion he tightened up all those areas in which he said he could improve upon. In a pretty much flawless performance the Formula 1 king showed why he’s the “GOAT” of the sport.
Hamilton spoke with Sky Sports at length following his big win.
”it was pretty much straightforward, it’s pretty lonely at the front. Of course I enjoy those races … we needed those points today, so a really solid job from the team.
“I can’t wait to replay the race to se what happened behind me. I’m really grateful for these points. It puts us in good stead for the next two.”
This race to the finish to the World Driver’s Championship will be epic with just two races left in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.
Hamilton is looking to break the tie he has with Michael Schumacher, as both share the record of seven driver’s championships.
Hamilton Sports Rainbow Helmet Showing LGBTQ Advocacy: “We Stand Together”
Qatar is one of many countries that have a ban against homosexuality, and that in itself is a ban against “human rights”.
Male homosexuality is illegal altogether and brings a three-year jail sentence and a fine. Under sharia law, Muslims could receive the death penalty.
We applaud @LewisHamilton for adding the rainbow flag to his helmet for this weekend’s #QatarGP. It is a magnificent and powerful gesture of solidarity with our #LGBTQ+ community around the world and is very much appreciated. Thank you, Lewis. #F1 @MercedesAMGF1
— Racing Pride (@RacingPrideHQ) November 19, 2021
Hamilton wanted to bring awareness to the situation by wearing a helmet of rainbow colors, which is a sign of solidarity, hope, and promise of better times to come.
Prior to the race, Hamilton spoke about those issues that many parts of the globe face and how he’s looking to bring visibility and awareness:
“We’re aware there are issues in these places that we’re going to. But of course Qatar seems to be one of the worst in this part of the world. As sports go to these places, they are duty-bound to raise awareness for these issues. These places need scrutiny. Equal rights is a serious issue.”
Qatar and Formula One Have 10-Year Deal
Formula One and Qatar agreed to a 10-year contract that is slated to begin in 2023. The country decided to hold off until then because it’s hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Sunday’s “Twilight Race” was the de facto grand opening race of the deal.
2021 F1 Calendar now complete and after a break in 2022, we’re going to be racing in Qatar for a further 10 years, and likely to be at a new venue. https://t.co/JO9M3PZF8j
— David Croft (@CroftyF1) September 30, 2021
“We are pleased to welcome Qatar to the Formula 1 this season and for the longer term for 2023,” said F1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali.
Human Rights Seem To Be A Problem Around The Globe
Qatar has been slated to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup; they’ve announced that all LGBTQ fans are welcome despite the country’s homosexual ban. But they still must respect Qatari traditions. Meaning it’s OK for fans to come and enjoy, but no public displays of affection will be permitted.
“Public displays of affection is frowned upon,” according to a Qatari official, “it’s not part of our culture — but that’s goes across the board to everybody.”
With a ten-year deal between Qatar and Formula One, you can expect Lewis Hamilton to continue to use his voice and platform to bring awareness. On Sunday he got off to a good start with his huge win and nearly flawless performance.