On Sunday, vegan race car driver Lewis Hamilton secured his seventh Formula One World Drivers’ Championship title after winning the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul, tying the record previously held by legendary German driver Michael Schumacher. Currently considered the sport’s most successful driver, Hamilton completed the race in treacherous rainy terrain to secure his 94th win. Last month, Hamilton secured his 92nd win at the Portuguese Grand Prix, surpassing the win record previously held by Schumacher.
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As the only Black Formula One driver, Hamilton has continually used his fame to fight for racial justice both on and off the track. After his celebrated win over the weekend—which garnered praise from athletes around the world, including plant-based tennis champion Novak Djokovic who sent a message of “plant power” to Hamilton via social media—the 35-year-old athlete took to Instagram to share his thoughts about the victory. “Seven World Championships means the world to me, I can’t even describe how much, but there’s still another race we’ve yet to win,” Hamilton said. “This year I’ve been driven not just by my desire to win on the track, but by a desire to help push our sport, and our world, to become more diverse and inclusive. I promise you I am not going to stop fighting for change. We have a long way to go but I will continue to push for equality within our sport, and within the greater world we live in. Equaling Michael Schumacher’s record puts a spotlight on me that I know won’t be here forever … Let’s make it so that opportunity is not something that is dependent on background or skin color.”
Hamilton went vegan in 2017 and has since used his platform to promote a variety of issues that involve the environment and animal welfare, including relentlessly urging his followers to go vegan, ditch leather, and boycott animal exploitation for entertainment. Yesterday, with eyes still on him after the historic win, Hamilton shared an Instagram story with his nearly 30 million followers which contained a video of pigs headed to slaughter who were visibly panicked and panting. “The horrifying things that are happening to animals in order for you to keep eating meat is inhuman. If we can let go of our desires and think of the impact we’re having, maybe with some compassion, together we can help stop this by starving the industry that’s supplying [meat],” Hamilton captioned the video. “It is those of us that eat animal products that are complicit with this happening. Please don’t turn a blind eye, please don’t ignore it. Go plant-based.”