Susie Wolff fires back at ‘negative comments’ about Hamilton’s activism

Susie Wolff raced with Sir Lewis Hamilton back in their karting days, and testifies that he is still the same person now.

Former Williams reserve driver and current Venturi Formula E team principal Susie Wolff has spoken of her admiration for Mercedes’ Sir Lewis Hamilton, praising his distinctions from other drivers on the grid.

Hamilton is the only black driver in Formula 1 and, while winning seven championships and 103 races thus far in an illustrious career, he has campaigned for more diversity in the pinnacle of motorsport.

He launched the Hamilton Commission in 2021, and it found that only one percent of workers in F1 are black, while women are often subjected to “inappropriate banter.”

He has been outspoken on F1’s decision to race in Saudi Arabia given its human rights record, and has raised awareness about global warming.

As such, the 37-year-old has dispensed of his private jet, sold a number of his cars, and has adopted a vegan diet.

Wolff, who is often close to Hamilton partly due to her marriage with Mercedes team principal Toto, feels the tangible impact that her compatriot is having on the pinnacle of motorsport.

“I’m inspired by Lewis as a racing driver, but also as a human being,” she said on the Beyond the Grid Podcast.

“Obviously, I see some of the negative comments around what he does, and how vocal he is in different areas, but you know what it takes guts to be different.

“I know that to a lesser extent, because I was different always in the paddock, and it’s easy to be the same as everyone else, it’s easy just to rock up, race, leave and not worry.

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“But he has the guts to be different, to stand up and to use his platform for other causes, and that’s also got to be commended because the easier route is to do nothing.”

The 39-year-old raced with the Mercedes driver in their karting days, so she has known the seven-time champion for a long time.

She recalls his caring and affectionate nature, and affirms that he is no different now to the humble kid she grew up racing with.

“Just two days ago, we were reminiscing about something that had happened in the karting days that we had remembered,” she explained.

“If I haven’t seen him for a while, the first thing he does is ask me how my parents, John and Sally, are and we reminisce a lot.

“I watched some of the races together with Anthony, his dad, and he’s absolutely the same.

“I just have so much admiration and respect for Lewis, what he’s achieved, how he manages his life to be the best possible racing driver that he can be.”

Hamilton is renowned for defying the odds to come and through to win even in the most desperate of situations, and his tenacity is something that particularly stands out to Wolff.

“For me what is incredible to watch is just how deep he can dig in moments of pressure,” she added.

“I didn’t have that, to that extent, as a racing driver, but he has an incredible ability in the car, and out of the car.”

Hamilton sits fifth in the Drivers’ Championship on 28 points after a difficult start to the year for Mercedes.

He is already 43 points adrift of championship leader Charles Leclerc, while his Mercedes team-mate George Russell is currently second in the standings.