Written by Andrew Lwanga, Edited by Aiden Hover
Sir Lewis Hamilton has become the first recipient of the inaugural Athlete Advocate of the year award. The seven-time world champion was presented the award by the prestigious Laureus Academy during the annual Laureus Sports Awards.
Throughout the course of what was a record-breaking 2020 for Hamilton, the Briton was extremely vocal and used his platform to call for diversity in motorsport and the addressing of racial disparities – not only in sports but also throughout society as a whole.
Hamilton’s efforts weren’t limited to just being vocal, as in June last year, he partnered with The Royal Academy of Engineering with the aim of increasing diversity within engineering fields in motorsport. Also, as part of his contract extensions into 2021, Mercedes was to agree to help charitable foundations with the goal of increasing diversity. Mercedes have since unveiled the project as Accelerate 25. The project aims to increase the percentage of ethnic minorities within the team from 3% to 25% and works in tandem with AFBE-UK (Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers).
Hamilton was unable to attend the ceremony held in Seville as he is in Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix, however, in his acceptance speech, the seven-time world champion said, “A huge thank you to the Laureus World Sports Academy for presenting me with this incredible Award. This past year has been incredibly difficult for so many, but it has also been heartening to see the power of our collective voices spark new conversations and change. The impact of each and every one of you who have stood up is so inspiring, so I want to thank you. Please keep fighting, keep shining your light.”
“The global rising to address the longstanding issue of systemic racism and inequality in our society has been monumental, but we must continue to fight. We must all see ourselves as responsible for making positive change in our world, and hold ourselves accountable so that the promises of last year turn into action.”
“I truly believe that together, we will get there, and so I stand with you as we push forwards. I’m sending you all love and positivity, stay safe. Thank you.”
Hamilton and Mercedes will be looking to extend their winning record this weekend at Catalunya as they come under exceeding pressure from the charging Red Bull.