Lewis Hamilton is "much prouder" of his work to fight for equality than he is of the prospect of winning a seventh Formula One drivers' championship. (More Sports News)
The Mercedes driver will match Michael Schumacher as the only man to win seven titles if he avoids being outscored by eight points by team-mate Valtteri Bottas at this weekend's Turkish Grand Prix.
Hamilton has already surpassed Schumacher's record of 91 race wins in 2020 and victory in Istanbul will also take him beyond the German when it comes to wins for a single team, with Schumacher having claimed 72 for Ferrari.
While this has been a memorable year for Hamilton, the Briton is more proud of his efforts away from the track, which have seen him become a focal point for anti-racism and diversity campaigns and a strong voice in the fight against the climate crisis.
"Winning a world championship is very much a personal thing," he said on Thursday. "Naturally, you're fighting with a group of people for a championship but the drivers' one is individual and that doesn't necessarily impact people's lives.
As we continue through the year I can definitely feel the slowing in momentum of BLM. I won’t stop trying to push for change. Awareness is where that starts so you’ll see me there each weekend representing. #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/8svbrHoGqI— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) November 3, 2020
"I think it's a much bigger and something I'm much prouder of doing the work outside, trying to improve conditions for people around the world.
"Everyone has the right to equality and quality education, equal human rights. That's the most important thing to me.
"What's important is that journey this year has been combined with the fight for equality and a real growing process this year of learning what's happening around the world and being a little bit more aware of surroundings and starting to see progress with that."
Hamilton admits he could not have envisaged matching Schumacher's haul of seven titles, particularly when he was "trundling along" with McLaren after winning his first in 2008.
In the end, a "leap of faith" in joining Mercedes in 2013 set him up for a career that, he hopes, will show people they can "dream bigger than you think you can dream".
"It was far beyond my wildest dreams thinking that anyone would get to seven," he said. "I dreamt of trying to do something that Ayrton [Senna] had done.
"Getting one world championship was great and then it was very tough obviously to get the second. And I spent years trying to help the team win another world championship. And then I had to make a big decision about whether I stay put and keep trundling along or go and do something more adventurous.
All we see are two Kings. pic.twitter.com/jpFgk5jZJR— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) November 12, 2020
"Obviously, I took that leap of faith and then we've gone one after the other here. I really just after each one try and count my blessings because you have to be grateful for what you have, not what you might have, so that's what I generally do.
"Naturally I knew I made a very good decision, when I made the decision, I knew it was the right thing for me. But, jeez, did I know we would win six world titles? No.
"I think what it says is that in life we've got to definitely make sure we take that leap of faith. Do what you think is right for you and not what people tell you to do. Do the homework so you have the pros and cons and then go with it, and go with it all in, whether it's good or bad.
"Naturally, matching an icon like Michael, I'd be incredibly proud of that. But I think it's more the message that it sends hopefully to people – not just kids but hopefully mostly kids because they're the future – that you have to dream bigger than you think you can dream and don't let anyone tell you you can't go for that."
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