Since I watched the touching video of Lewis Hamilton inspiring those three kids, I have been thinking of his life and journey.
Of particular recollection are the people who made him dream.
But first a background: For a very long time, the man Michael Schumacher was considered the greatest Formula 1 driver of all time…until Hamilton came on the scene.
Since he as a 22-year old handled the gear of a McLaren in 2007 before being attracted to the Mercedes F1 team in 2013, Hamilton has won more races and taken more pole positions than any driver in history. Last season, he matched the record of Schumacher with his seventh world title and with one of the highest-performing cars the sport has ever seen, it is only a matter of time before he leaves Schumacher behind.
All these he achieved as the only Black in the sport. It’s being said that about 60 other drivers have made their F1 debut since he got into the sport and none of them has been a Black. He was the first Black in 2007 and continues to be the only one.
Born to a black father and white mother, Lewis identifies as a black and has founded founded Mission 44, a foundation to back children from underrepresented groups, with a personal donation of $27 million. The goal is not merely to build new pipelines for Black kids into Formula 1 jobs, but to guide them into careers in science, technology, engineering and math, while also targeting a broader societal impact.
Back to my original subject of those who made him dream:
“My dad and I would watch people like Tiger [Woods] who kind of broke the mold, and we watched in admiration. The Williams sisters also did the same,” he says. “We’re like, ‘Oh, if we could do something like that, that’s going to help change the industry moving forward.’”
In the video I referenced at the beginning of this post, my comment was,
“Show me the heroes of a people and you can predict their future.”