By Alvin A. Reid
Lewis Hamilton notched his 100th Formula 1 victory with a triumph at the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi on Sunday, Sept. 26, with a blend of strategy and sound driving.
The Black driver, who calls England home, the best there is in the sport today and possibly ever, is noted among the greatest at driving in rain and on water-slick tracks. The skies opened late in the race and his Mercedes team made the daring decision to pit and put on rain-appropriate tires.
Race leader Lando Norris gambled – and lost – by not doing the same. Hamilton took the lead when Norris skidded off the track. Win No. 100 was his.
“It’s taken a long time, obviously, to get to 100, and I wasn’t even sure whether it would come,” he said.
“It is a magical moment. I could only have dreamed of still being here, to have this opportunity to win these races and to drive with such phenomenal talents this late on in my career. I am so proud of everything we have done. This is a special moment for everyone that has been part of it. I feel incredibly grateful for the support I have had.”
The win propelled him back into the top spot in the race for the driver’s championship, just two points ahead of rival Max Verstappen.
At 36, Hamilton still has many possible wins ahead of him and each victory brings him a new F1 record.
Michael Schumacher posted 91 wins during his famed career and the next most successful driver is Sebastian Vettel with 53. Hamilton is the lone driver to have won a race in every season since 2007. If he can top Verstappen for the 2021 title it would be his eighth, surpassing Schumacher’s seven.
A testament to Hamilton’s popularity is the fact that F1 is drawing its largest American TV audiences in the sport’s history, according to ESPN. Hamilton also graced the red carpet and attended the 2021 Met Gala in New York two weeks ago that benefited Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute.
Never afraid of controversy, Hamilton tweeted, “Pure magic last night. These designers — Kenneth Nicholson, Theophilio, Jason Rembert — deserve this moment just as much as any other designer who attends the Met Gala. The goal is, and always will be, to open doors for young Black creatives.”
Hamilton invited the three artists to sit at his table, and told Vogue, “The Met is the biggest fashion event of the year…when people see us all together, it will put these Black designers at the top of people’s minds.”
Hamilton has also continued his campaign to bring more diversity to F1 and motor sports and refuses to yield in support of justice and equality for people of color.
He took a knee during the English anthem before the British Grand Prix earlier this year while sporting a shirt that said, “Actions Speak Louder than Words.”
The Reid Roundup
Let’s hope that Missouri football coach EliDrinkwitz doesn’t partake in the building “Blame the Black Man” campaign that is gaining momentum in Columbia and throughout the state. Mizzou’s Black first-year defensive coordinator Steve Wilks is becoming a scapegoat for the Tigers’ lack of talent on defense. His scheme is being questioned as are his credentials as a top-flite coach. Wilkes was fired as Arizona Cardinals coach was fired after a single season in favor of wunderkind Kliff Kingsbury. But he is considered one of the game’s best defensive minds and Missouri is lucky to have him…NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar told Rolling Stone, “The NBA should insist that all players and staff are vaccinated or remove them from the team. There is no room for players who are willing to risk the health and lives of their teammates, the staff and the fans simply because they are unable to grasp the seriousness of the situation.”…Congratulations to Houston manager Dusty Baker on guiding his Houston Astros to the American League Central title. He now will enter an AL Division series showdown with Tony La Russa and the Chicago White Sox.