Grand prix

Hamilton says ‘new drive’ in F1 has made him “stronger than ever”

The seven-time world champion says his work off the track is giving him added strength on it amid his raging title battle against Red Bull’s Max Verstappen this year.

Hamilton has been one of the leading voices for change in F1 as part of his mission to improve diversity and inclusivity in motorsport, as well as championing the sport’s anti-racism drive.

“I think mentally, I’m stronger than I’ve ever been,” Hamilton said in an interview with Sky Sports F1. “And I think that’s been a real big part of it.

“I think I’ve been strong mentally for a long time anyway, but I think that’s solidified me even more. And also I don’t get distracted by any of the stuff that’s happening here, I arrive and I do what I love doing. I think that’s been a positive.”

The 36-year-old Briton has used his platform to push for social justice and is regularly seen on the grid wearing t-shirts carrying thought-provoking slogans on them, while he has also taken the knee ahead of every race since the opening round of the 2020 season.

“This year I’ve not been drawing on past experiences, I’ve been drawing on feeding off this energy of doing this positive work,” Hamilton explained.

“I noticed that last year and it was a part of that last year. Getting on the podium so I can give Breonna [Taylor] that voice, it was a super drive for me.

“So now it’s the work that I’m doing in the background and then I’m turning up and I’m enjoying this job.

“Is it helping me race? I think so, yeah. It’s like my new drive and I feel like it’s giving me more longevity because it’s a lot of work we have to do. I feel like it also gives my life real purpose. Racing is not a purpose, it’s something you do.”

Hamilton admitted to facing his own daily struggles but has been inspired by finding a renewed sense of purpose that goes beyond simply winning races and world championships.

“Naturally I’ve definitely had moments… people don’t see but it’s not all beautiful,” he said.

“I’m only human and it’s all relative. You have up and down days, I have really difficult days where I don’t want to train, you don’t want to continue to push, all these different thoughts that people have I experience those too.

“There’s been definitely been times where I’m like, I don’t know if I can keep going, or maybe there’s something else I want to do. But I don’t think I’d found my purpose until last year.

“Now I feel like I have a mission in life and it’s not about just winning championships and races, that’s all cool, but actually being able to make an impact to help youngsters coming through.

“My niece and nephew will be having conversations at school about engineering and might want to take triple science, and might want to be mixed-race kids that are can be an engineer either here or at NASA, wherever. I love that.”

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