Reuters interview with Lewis Hamilton as he discusses his fight for more diversity within motorsport

RESENDING WITH SCRIPT AND EXTENDING THE FIRST AND FOURTH SOUNDBITES

EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3

VIDEO SHOWS: INTERVIEW WITH LEWIS HAMILTON IN WHICH HE TALKS ABOUT HIS CAMPAIGN FOR MORE RACIAL DIVERSITY WITHIN MOTOR SPORT / B-ROLL AND STILL PHOTOGRAPHS OF HAMILTON

SHOWS:

UNKNOWN LOCATION (NOVEMBER 18, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

1. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPION, LEWIS HAMILTON, SAYING:

"Definitely, I think this year there has been this awakening - you have seen for example in our industry you are talking about the end racism slogan that they use, the race is one, so there is already …it has sparked change, but it is really important that it is not just symbolism, it is important it is not just words. It is important that we really put in place, take real action to make change, to make it a more diverse sport. I definitely think this is not going to happen right this minute or really by next year. This is a systematic issue around the world. And it is going to take all of us continuing to work together and I am definitely going to be a part of that."

BERLIN, GERMANY (FILE - NOVEMBER 7, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

2. VARIOUS OF HAMILTON ON RED CARPET AT GQ GERMANY'S MEN OF THE YEAR AWARDS

BRIXWORTH, ENGLAND, UK (FILE - NOVEMBER 13, 2018) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

3. VARIOUS OF HAMILTON WITH MERCEDES TEAM CELEBRATING WINNING A FIFTH CONSECUTIVE CONSTRUCTORS' CHAMPIONSHIP

UNKNOWN LOCATION (NOVEMBER 18, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

4. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPION, LEWIS HAMILTON, SAYING:

"What struck me so much, I remember at the beginning of last year, it's been every year of my life, 27 years of racing, particularly at the beginning of last year, I remember looking around in Australia, at the paddock and I remember I filmed it for my Instagram, I remember, still no diversity within this paddock. Then I got to the end of the year, and I saw all the photos of all the teams standing proudly on the track, they do a celebratory kind of photo. So it is around close to a thousand people if you think of all the teams and there were three or four people of colour within that setting, and I remember thinking how is that not shift changed at all since I have been here."

WOKING, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - NOVEMBER 5, 2008) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (MCLAREN VNR - ACCESS ALL)

5. LEWIS HAMILTON, THEN WITH MCLAREN, DRIVING UP TO THE TEAM'S HEADQUARTERS BUILDING AFTER WINNING HIS FIRST WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

6. HAMILTON GETTING OUT OF CAR AND WAVING

7. MCLAREN EMPLOYEES CHEERING AND CLAPPING

JEREZ, SPAIN (FILE - 2013) (MERCEDES VNR - NO RESALES)

8. HAMILTON, NICO ROSBERG AND TOTO WOLFF POSING ON MERCEDES CAR

UNKNOWN LOCATION (NOVEMBER 18, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

9. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPION, LEWIS HAMILTON, SAYING:

"It is not a surprise when you think of the people who have led our sport the comments that they have come out with this year. So no, there is a lot of learning to do, and it is uncomfortable for some people, the conversation. But what I found is that breaking down that barrier that people put up, with their uncomfortable, or where they have been comfortable in, and showing they can be part of the change and it is not a bad thing to be part of the change, it is actually important. So it is empowering them, having these conversations, this dialogue. I think we have come on leaps and bounds in terms of that step. We are seeing Chase Carey putting money towards the movement, we have seen the FIA doing more, so I think the future is bright, but you have got to stay on top of these people. We have all got to stay on top to make sure that change really follows."

SILVERSTONE, ENGLAND, UK (FILE - FEBRUARY 22, 2018) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

10. HAMILTON, VALTTERI BOTTAS, TEAM BOSS TOTO WOLFF, MANAGING DIRECTOR ANDY COWELL AND TECHNICAL DIRECTOR JAMES ALLISON STANDING BEHIND CAR AT LAUNCH

11. CAR / BOTTAS, WOLFF AND HAMILTON POSING FOR PHOTOS

UNKNOWN LOCATION (FILE) (MERCEDES VNR - NO RESALES)

12. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF MERCEDES' BLACK LIVERY FOR 2020 SEASON

UNKNOWN LOCATION (NOVEMBER 18, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

13. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPION, LEWIS HAMILTON, SAYING:

"Well I mean the first step for me was Mercedes and Daimler this incredibly iconic brand that has always been the Silver Arrows, changing their car to black at the start of this year. And that was something that I asked for and asked them to be a part of to try and empower them. It is seeing a sport which like many this year have done some great things. But our sport said we simply don't want to get involved in politics. And getting across it is a human rights issue and everyone has the right for equal rights and pushing for that, the sport realizes that it has a powerful voice and a place for pushing for better living standards for everyone around the world, especially since we travel to 20 plus countries. Seeing that in my team, the HR department has been working with how we can do better in terms of hiring, there is a diversity inclusion programme just now in our team. All my partners are on board. I have spoken to every partner that I work with. And ask them where are you at. Everyone single one of them says 'You know what, we have not done enough. We can do more'. And none of them were 'We are doing fine'. There are some teams that we are still working on and trying to bring them in and be a part of change. And realise they can do better in their company."

SILVERSTONE, ENGLAND, UK (AUGUST 9, 2020) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE)

14. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF LEWIS HAMILTON AND OTHER DRIVERS TAKING A KNEE DURING BRITISH GRAND PRIX

STEIERMARK, AUSTRIA (JULY 12, 2020) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE)

15. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF LEWIS HAMILTON WEARING A BLACK LIVES MATTER T-SHIRT AT AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX

UNKNOWN LOCATION (NOVEMBER 18, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

16. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPION, LEWIS HAMILTON, SAYING ON WHETHER THERE WILL BE CHANGE:

"I am really confident if I am really honest. That is given me a lot of… I think in life we are all trying to figure out what our purpose is. We are probably all figuring out, navigating and doing on our own journeys. And there was a time when I was winning all these championships, but what does it really, really mean? Of course it feels great to succeed at something especially do something that was thought to be impossible. It was a dream as a child. But how can you impact, how can you utilize that platform. That is what I have been learning all this year, and I realise that my voice carries a lot of weight with it. And it can really help shift things for my niece and nephew who are biracial. For the other kids who were like me, who will face, young black kids will at some stage in their lives face racism. How do we make sure that doesn't happen moving forwards. And I think it goes down to education, and that is where it ultimately starts."

SPA, BELGIUM (AUGUST 30, 2020) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE)

17. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF LEWIS HAMILTON WEARING A BLACK LIVES MATTER AT BELGIAN GRAND PRIX

ROMAGNA, ITALY (OCTOBER 30, 2020) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE)

18. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF LEWIS HAMILTON WEARING BLACK LIVES MATTER FACE MASK AT ITALIAN GRAND PRIX

UNKNOWN LOCATION (NOVEMBER 18, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

19. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPION, LEWIS HAMILTON, SAYING ON THE HAMILTON COMMISSION HE HAS SET UP:

"The goal of that. You can't fix what you don't know. And if you go around most people… if you were to go and ask every boss in our sport or the head of our sport, why is this not a diverse sport, they will say they don't know. They may say people around the world have said there is not enough minorities applying for the job, or there are no minorities. I think we have seen that from some really high up people, and I think that is a real cop out. I think it is important that as an industry, you go out and try to find out… you have to expand where you are hiring from. You are clearly not looking in all the right places. So the Commission is try and understand what the priorities are for young black kids, teenagers, getting into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects and what is limiting them. How can we shift it. And we have got people in the Commission who are working on the ground in black communities. We have got people who are in education, people who are in politics. Who at the end will be the people who can really push for the change from the curriculum. Hopefully help give more opportunities for kids. Every kid, it shouldn't matter where you come from, what your background is or your race or your religion or where you live you should have equal opportunity at education."

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO (FILE - OCTOBER 23, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

20. HAMILTON POSING FOR PHOTOS AT PROMOTIONAL EVENT BEFORE LEAVING

STORY: Seven times Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton said he is confident his sport has a bright and more diverse future but he will not take his foot off the accelerator in pushing for change.

The Mercedes driver, Formula One's first Black driver and champion, told Reuters Television in an interview on Wednesday (November 18) that he also looked forward to more success with a team that has dominated the past seven years.

"This year there has been this awakening," said the 35-year-old Briton.

"Already it has sparked a change but it's really important that it's not just symbolism, it's important that it's not just words... that we take real action to make change, to make this a more diverse sport."

Hamilton, who made his F1 debut in 2007, recalled looking around the Australian Grand Prix paddock in Melbourne at the start of last year and posting images on Instagram of the startling lack of diversity on display.

"And then I got to the end of the year and I saw all the photos of all the teams...and there were three or four people of colour within that setting and I remember thinking 'how has that not changed at all since I've been here?'

"It isn't a surprise when you think of the people who have led our sport, the comments they've come out with this year," added Hamilton.

"So there's a lot of learning to do and it's uncomfortable for some people, the conversation."

Hamilton did not name any names but he has been strongly critical this year of former F1 commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone, now 90, for suggesting the sport did not have a problem with racism.

He has also hit back at former champions Mario Andretti and Jackie Stewart, both in their 80s, for their reactions to his campaigning stance.

Hamilton said the sport had gone a long way to breaking down barriers and opening up a dialogue.

"You've seen (F1 chairman) Chase Carey putting money towards the movement, we've seen the FIA doing more. So I think the future's bright but I've got to stay on top of these people," he added.

"We've all got to stay on top to make sure that change really follows."

Hamilton this year set up a commission of experts to help increase the representation of Black people in British motorsport, while Formula One has rolled out an anti-racism campaign with all drivers taking stance before races.

The Briton is now Formula One's most successful driver, equalling Ferrari great Michael Schumacher's record seven titles and smashing the German's records for most career wins with the Briton now on 94.

He sealed his seventh title, and sixth with Mercedes, after winning in Turkey last weekend.

The Briton said that this year, racing through a pandemic, had been "the hardest year for everyone" but the movement for change and using his platform to promote racial justice and equal rights, had motivated him.

"I think the sport's realized that it has a powerful voice and a place in pushing for better living standards for everyone around the world," said Hamilton.

"There are some teams that we're still working on, to try and bring them in and be a part of change and realise that they can do better in their company. But I think I've seen lots of change."

(Producution: Iain Axon)