Writers Michael Eboda and Oliver Owen look at how a 12-year-old go karting champion went on to become Formula One’s most successful driver. This year, more than ever, Hamilton has also been leading the fight against racism
This year, the driver Lewis Hamilton equalled a record seven Formula One world championships when he won the Turkish grand prix in November. Many believe Hamilton is the greatest Formula One driver of all time. He also won BBC Sports Personality of the Year this month and topped The Powerlist 2021, the annual list of the most influential people of African, African Caribbean and African American heritage in the UK. Hamilton is the first sports star to take top billing in the list’s 14-year history.
Michael Eboda, the chief executive of Powerful Media, the publisher of the list, tells Rachel Humphreys about meeting a 12-year-old Lewis Hamilton on a go-karting course. It was clear even then, Eboda says, that Hamilton was special. This year he interviewed the driver again, and talked to him about his anti-racism activism. Hamilton has encouraged his fellow drivers to back him by taking a knee before each race; convinced his team, Mercedes, to change its cars’ livery from silver to black; and set up a commission to make the sport more diverse at all levels of employment – all the while showcasing the Black Lives Matter cause with a T-shirt and matching BLM face mask.