Hamilton’s inclusion, for the second time, recognizes the work he has done to promote diversity and inequality at a time of racial injustice around the world, especially following the death earlier this year of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police brutality in the United States
The 35-year-old, also on track to win a record-breaking seventh Formula 1 world title, has played a visual role in the fight to end racism and to promote the Black Lives Matter movement, including founders Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi received a combined spot on the TIME list.
Separated into five categories – pioneers, artists, icons, leaders and titans – Hamilton features in the latter, with his guest contribution provided by NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace who, like the Briton, is the only person of color to compete in the his particular sport.
Watson wrote: “Lewis Hamilton is someone I have idolized. He is set to win his seventh Formula 1 championship this season, tying Michael Schumacher’s record.
“Seven is a magic number in the race. Dale Earnhardt Sr., Jimmie Johnson and Richard Petty have each won seven NASCAR season titles. Lewis, 35, is young enough to continue to win championships and set new all-time records.
“I am the only black driver at the highest level of NASCAR. So Lewis’ example – as the only Black F1 driver – is particularly meaningful to me. It shows that we do. Seeing him conquer the track almost every weekend, it motivates me to try to do the same.
“His activism has also moved the world. Lewis has drawn international attention to the Black Lives Matter movement, through his advocacy on social media and at F1 events.
“Lewis’s mental preparation, his aura, his ability to take advantage of every opportunity to use his platform to drive out racism is more than just a role model for racing drivers and other athletes. He is a source of inspiration for everyone. ”
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