• Lewis Hamilton finished the opening race of the season in 4th place.
• The driver is an activist for the BLM movement.
• He is looking to win a 7th F1 drivers' championship in 2020.
• For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za
Lewis Hamilton has had a torrid start to his 2020 Formula 1 campaign. While not as bad as Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel's, it's a start he'd nonetheless want to forget. Following the opening race of the season, Hamilton finds himself in fourth place on the log, behind team mate Valtteri Bottas, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, and Lando Norris from McLaren.
Hamilton, one of the best drivers of all time, has had successful championship campaigns in the past six seasons. Bar 2016, he has won every drivers' championship since 2014. Vettel and Bottas gave him a challenge since 2017, but neither driver could manage to topple one of this generation's best.
But 2020 is different, especially for Hamilton. The driver is an activist for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and has been vocal about the wrongs and injustices, not only in F1, but outside of the sport too. While we admire the Mercedes driver for taking a stand, will this external fight play a role in his ambition to win a seventh championship?
Lewis Hamilton leading F1 drivers in a moment of silence. (Dan Istitene / Getty Images)
In the build-up to last week's opening race of the 2020 season, Hamilton was at the forefront of the BLM fight. It was especially powerful when he led the drivers in a moment's silence not only for the movement, but against social injustices in the world too.
Whether this added responsibility affected his racing performance over the weekend is open to debate.
On Saturday, during qualifying, Hamilton ignored yellow flags after Bottas went off the track and continued about setting the fastest possible lap. Though the stewards cleared him, the decision was overturned on Sunday; 40 minutes before the race got under way. He was handed a three-place penalty and started the race in fifth position.
During the closing stages of the race, Hamilton drove into Red Bull's Alex Albon and received a five-second penalty. Even though he finished the race in second place, he dropped to fourth place as a result of the incident.
Can Hamilton get back to winning ways this weekend? Email us with your thoughts.
Hamilton is a brilliant driver, but his emotions can sometimes come into play; which brings about unforced errors. His two mishaps over the weekend had an effect on the final outcome of his results, and he threw away a podium finish and important points for this year's championship.
Some may argue that his involvement with social causes outside of F1 could have played a part in his performance, but a driver of Hamilton's calibre can quickly regroup and realign his focus. Come this weekend, Hamilton will have a different mindset and attitude. Regardless of his various involvements, the race will be his top priority - even if it's just for a few hours.
Hamilton will no doubt divide his attention equally between the F1 championship and his fight outside of the cockpit. Once he does that, it will come as little surprise to see him standing on the top step of the podium again.