Lewis Hamilton said there are more important things going on in the world than the fact that he could equal Michael Schumacher’s career win record at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.
Hamilton has been on course to match and surpass Schumacher’s 91 wins all season, while he also looks likely to equal the German’s record of seven world titles.
Hamilton has been vocal off the track this year on the topic of inequality, launching his own commission into the lack of diversity in motor racing. The Mercedes driver was named as one of Time’s 100 people of the year for the stance he has taken.
Ahead of this weekend’s race, Hamilton posted about his sadness and frustration at the verdict in the Breonna Taylor case. Hamilton wore an “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor” shirt before F1’s most recent race, the Tuscan Grand Prix, and again on the podium after winning.
When asked about what it would mean to level Schumacher on Sunday, Hamilton said: “I don’t know what it would mean to me to be honest.
“If it happens… It’s going to happen at some stage as I’m not quitting anytime soon, I can’t tell you how I am going to feel, or what it’s going to mean, or if it’s going to mean anything. There’s other and bigger issues happening in the world. Of course it’s an honour, but that doesn’t really mean anything either.”
Motor racing’s governing body, the FIA, decided to look into Hamilton’s decision to wear the Taylor shirt in case it had contravened rules around political slogans. While Hamilton anticipates some clarity to be given this weekend, he insisted he will not stop standing up for messages he believes in.
“People do talk about sport not being a place for politics, but ultimately it’s human rights issues,” he said. “In my opinion that is something we should be pushing towards.
“We have a huge group of people who watch our sport from multiple different backgrounds and cultures and we should definitely be pushing positive messages for them, especially for equality. The push towards road safety, you could argue that’s a human rights issue also. I don’t know what they are going to do this weekend. Lots of rules have been written for me over the years and that hasn’t stopped me. What I will do is just continue to work with F1 and the FIA to make sure the messaging is right.
“Could it be better? Of course it could always be better but that’s a part of the learning curve.”
He added: “I haven’t spoken to them but I’ve heard that tomorrow they will come out with a new ruling of some sort, saying what you can and cannot do. I will just try to continue to work with them. Whether I agree or disagree, it’s kind of irrelevant. It’s about trying to find a common ground and how we can do it together. Do I believe that they fully understand? I don’t know. But perhaps in the future we all will to the same extent.”