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Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton: No changes in F1 in 11 years I’ve been here

Lewis Hamilton

Four-times Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has called for more diversity in the sport after highlighting how little he felt had changed since he burst on to the scene in 2007.

The Mercedes driver, a favourite to win Sunday’s season-opening race in Australia, on Thursday posted a video on Instagram panning around the Melbourne paddock from his Mercedes team’s hospitality.

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“There is barely any diversity in F1, still nothing’s changed in 11 years I’ve been here,” the 33-year-old told his six million followers.

“Kids, people, there’s so many jobs in this sport of which anybody no matter your ethnicity or background can make it and fit in.”

Now that he is Formula 1’s first black world champion and one of the highest-paid athletes in the world he continues to develop, “In my mind, I’m trying to break down new barriers, push the envelope. Trying to see how far I can take, firstly, the opportunity I have and then obviously the ability I have and live to my full potential.”

Hamilton, whose paternal grandparents emigrated to Britain from the Caribbean island of Grenada, grew up in social housing with his father carrying out multiple jobs to make ends meet and pay for his early years in karting.

European-dominated Formula 1 has no Asian or African drivers at present and only one from Latin America, Mexican Sergio Perez who races for the British-based Force India team.

There has not been a woman driver starting a grand prix since Lella Lombardi did so back in 1976.