Lewis Hamilton, the freshly crowned six-time Formula 1 champion, has been named as the most influential black person in Britain after a year in which he combined record-breaking achievements on the track with raising awareness of racial injustice.
The Formula One driver scoooped the award ahead of Prof Kevin Fenton, Public Health England’s regional director for London.
The annual Powerlist focused this year on honouring people who have spoken truth to power at a time of increased debate about racial injustice, its publisher said.
The common thread to the top 10, which also includes the head of the Royal College of Nursing, Donna Kinnair, and the historian David Olosuga, is that they have used their position to positive effect, said Michael Eboda, the chief executive of Powerful Media.
Hamilton has strongly pushed the rights of black people through his public interventions. In the past months he spoke of his anger and sadness at the time of George Floyd’s death. In a a recent interview, he said: “Competing and winning championships is a great thing, but what does it really mean? It doesn’t mean anything unless you can help push for change. I cannot keep silent during this time. . I decided that I have to use this platform. There are so many people out there who are struggling and so many who have experienced what I have experienced, and worse”.
Hamilton has often recalled that he was forced to endureracism both as a youngster and since he has been a professional driver.