Five-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton says a continued “push for diversity” is inspiring him ahead of the 2019 season. 

Hamilton, who won his fifth drivers’ world title in 2018 to move within two world championships of matching all-time record holder Michael Schumacher, was the first black driver to race in F1. 

Last year, the Briton highlighted the lack of racial diversity in the sport, insisting that “nothing has changed” since he made his F1 debut back in 2007.  

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In a Mercedes interview previewing the start of the 2019 campaign, Hamilton said he wanted to use his “great platform” to inspire others to achieve their dreams. 

“I’ve achieved quite a lot up until now and naturally I want to achieve more but there’s a much, much bigger picture to what I am involved in and what I am a part of and what I and my family represent,” he explained.   

“What’s driving me right now is to continue to push for diversity, to push for change. Not only in my sport but also in the world and encouraging people in general but naturally youngsters who are up and coming and have dreams. 

“I want to encourage them to dream big and really put it out there in the universe - hopefully showing that through the different things that I go through during my circle in working with big teams to win world titles. 

“I just feel very, very blessed so I’ve got to make sure that I keep pushing, keep evolving, keep driving. If I’m not moving forward then I feel like I’m not breathing so I’ve got to keep going.”

Hamilton has previously spoken of his desire to help future generations carve out a career in the sport by working with F1’s governing body, the FIA. 

‘Hamilton’s fire couldn’t be more powerful’

Hamilton heads into the upcoming campaign looking to add to his sublime record during the V6 hybrid era - having won 51 of the 100 races since 2014 - while Mercedes could make history by winning six consecutive world championship doubles. 

The 34-year-old hailed a “smooth” first day in Mercedes’ 2019 car as he conducted a shake down with the German manufacturer’s latest F1 challenger at Silverstone following a launch event on Wednesday. 

“I don’t feel like I have the same fire, it’s a different fire every year. It evolves, it shifts,” Hamilton said. 

“It’s always burning bright and it couldn’t really be anymore powerful or any hotter or stronger than it is, but it’s evolving and flourishing. 

“I’m the second oldest driver here now but I still feel young, I’m still fit and strong and I’ve still got it. So I’m going to keep pushing.

“This is my seventh year with the team and having been to the factory and seen all the hard work that everyone has been doing, I have the absolute trust in everyone in terms of knowing how hard working and dedicated they are. 

“I’m really looking forward to this next step of our journey together and embarking on what has not been done before, so let’s get it.”

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