Lewis Hamilton on difficult season for Mercedes in November
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Lewis Hamilton has admitted holding private talks with his Mercedes boss before the Silver Arrows introduced a major change. The seven-time champion stressed he opened up to his boss about his concerns over race ahead of the team changing its appearance.
Mercedes switched to a black car ahead of the 2020 season, switching from its iconic silver paint scheme. The team ran the design through to the end of the 2021 season before reverting to their traditional style last year.
Hamilton has now revealed details of the discussion which led to the change, thought to be held with Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff. He told the Jay Shetty Podcast: “First I just started having those difficult conversations with my boss.
“One of the things he brings up that hit him hard, I said ‘have you ever thought as a white person walking into the paddock and being the only white person there’. He said ‘I hadn’t even thought of that’ and I said ‘well that’s what it’s like for someone like me. In a room you notice. You notice that out of 50 people in a meeting you’re the only black person there.
“It’s not because we are less, it’s because there are these barriers within society through education that are limiting people to be the best they can be. My job is to be empowering and improve representation.”
He added: “We changed the car from silver to black in 2020. I said to them ‘the car’s been silver forever, it’s always been the Silver Arrows. Imagine If we change the car to black. Us turning up and arriving, it’s how you show up, imagine the message we can send’. We had the black car for the whole year and we didn’t even talk much about it, we just let it be.
“I won my seventh world championship in that car.” Hamilton campaigned heavily on issues around racism when F1 returned after coronavirus shutdowns in 2020.
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He took the knee while wearing a ‘Black Lives Matter’ protest ahead of the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix. He told Jay Shetty that he didn’t tell his team that he intended to take a stand ahead of the race over fears he could be stopped.
Hamilton commented: “Afterwards my team are like ‘Well if you just told us we could have prepared better’ but I had this fear that they would try and stop me. But that was just a fear, they have been massively supportive through the whole thing. My hope was that kids would be watching me and saying ‘Why is he taking the knee? What does that shirt mean?’.”
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