Lewis Hamilton created history at the Russian Grand Prix by claiming the 100th win of his career. Hamilton has been the premier figure in the sport since making his debut at the highest level in 2007, both on and off the track.

The Brit has delighted fans with his performances and his dominance of the Drivers’ Championship since his move to Mercedes in 2013. His endless pursuit of all Formula One records will see the 36-year-old become the most decorated driver in the history of the sport. Hamilton could well break the record for most title wins in the 2021 campaign by winning his eighth crown.

The debate will rage whether he is the best driver to compete in F1, but his accomplishments will no doubt speak for themselves when Hamilton does call time on his career. However, he still has an extremely important role to play, not only for Mercedes and his own personal achievements, but his role as an ambassador for Formula One to inspire the next generation.

The next generation does not only mean the rising stars that are emerging through the ranks at the moment. F1 appears to be in good hands regarding talent with Max Verstappen primed to take over Hamilton’s dominance at the top, although George Russell and Lando Norris are ready to show that they intend to make the title race very interesting over the next decade. However, Hamilton now has a dual role as a spokesman to ensure that people from all backgrounds are all inspired to participate behind the wheel.

Hamilton has already made strides to create equality in the sport. He himself was the first black driver to win the Drivers’ Championship when he triumphed with McLaren in 2008. Additionally, there needs to be more women in the sport, as research from Betway has discovered that women have staggeringly low representation in Formula One. Their study has found rare examples of women that have managed to work their way into the upper echelons of the sport to defy the odds, such as Sophia Flörsch, who has competed at several levels including the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters in the 2021 campaign.

Hamilton has set up the Hamilton Commission to attempt to resolve issues regarding equality, and he may also have to use his influence to turn the attention on diversity as well. In the modern age, for there to be a lack of representation at the highest level is a concern not only for the short term, but also the long-term prospects of including female drivers and staff on Formula One teams.

There have been attempts to promote women in the sport, such as the FIA Girls on Track initiative that was launched in 2020. It is a step in the right direction, but should be only the start of further programmes that are promoted in all areas of the sport, whether it is behind the wheel, the pit lane, or behind-the-scenes in teams’ analytical departments.

Hamilton is the ambassador of the sport as its most recognisable face. It falls to him not only to perform on the track, but to be a shining light for its future off it.

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