Lewis Hamilton has implored Formula 1, and the wider sporting scene, to become more diverse, after jointly receiving Laureus’ World Sportsman of the Year award.
Hamilton shared the accolade with Barcelona player Lionel Messi – the first time in the 20-year history of the ceremony that co-winners have been appointed – on Monday evening in Berlin.
Hamilton last year claimed a sixth Formula 1 world title and received his award on stage from former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
“I grew up in a sport that has really given my life meaning,” said Hamilton on stage.
“I’m so, so grateful for what it has provided me, but I’ve grown up in a sport that has very little to no diversity and I think it’s an issue we’re continually facing.
“It’s all of our responsibility to use our platform for that, to push for gender equality, inclusivity, for making sure we are engaging and trying to represent where the world is today.
“It’s a real honour to be here and congratulations to all of the nominees.
“A big thank you to Mercedes-Benz, who have always been a supporter, they signed me when I was 13, and I want to also say a huge congratulations to Laureus for changing people’s lives and giving people hope.”
Mercedes was nominated for Laureus’ Team of the Year award but that accolade was given to South Africa’s Rugby World Cup-winning squad.
Formula 3 racer Sophia Florsch received the Comeback of the Year award after returning to the Macau Grand Prix 12 months after her horror crash at the Lisboa corner.