Lewis Hamilton says he is “much prouder” of the work he has been doing away from the track this year in his fight for equality than the prospect of potentially winning a seventh Formula 1 world title.

Hamilton will clinch his seventh drivers’ world championship at this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix if his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas fails to outscore him by at least eight points on F1’s first trip to Istanbul Park since 2011.

But the Briton believes his continued push to promote equality and diversity is a “much bigger issue” that he remains focused on.

“Winning a world championship is very much a personal thing, but the drivers' title doesn't necessarily impact people's lives,” Hamilton said.

“I think it’s a much bigger issue and something I’m much prouder of doing the work outside, trying to improve conditions for people around the world - equal human rights - so that's the most important thing to me.

“We're going to continue to fight for more championships,” he added. “We’re going to continue to try and improve and continue to race and do what we do, and what we love doing.

“But I think what's important is that the journey this year has been combined with the fight for equality and a real growing process this year of learning what's happening around the world and being a little bit more aware of surroundings and starting to see progress with that.”

A seventh world title would see Hamilton draw level with Michael Schumacher’s championship record which has stood unrivalled since the German’s last triumph with Ferrari in 2004.

Hamilton already holds the most pole positions in F1 and also surpassed Schumacher’s all-time wins record last month with his 92nd victory at the Portuguese Grand Prix.

“I think the numbers and the figures and the titles and all that stuff, it perhaps appears to mean more from the outside,” Hamilton explained.

“I remember watching the TV and watching Michael get the seventh [title] and being like, 'Wow!' But when you're in it, it's different.

“Naturally, matching an icon like Michael; I'd be incredibly proud of that, but I think it's more the message it sends to not just kids, but mostly kids, that you have to dream bigger than you think you can dream and don't let anyone tell you you can't go for that."

And Hamilton insisted that his preparations have been no different heading to Turkey, despite what is at stake this weekend.

“I’m not thinking of anything other than [taking it] one race at a time, just trying to do the best we can as a team and seeing if there's any areas we can improve on from the last race,” he said.

“You never truly know whether it's going to happen. I’m not focused on the ‘what ifs’ – I'm focused on preparing myself the same as I've done before, to try and deliver the way I have been doing all this season.”

 

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