Lewis Hamilton is one of the greatest motor racing drivers of all time, if not the very best ever. As the first black Formula 1 driver, Hamilton is also a sporting trailblazer. The man from Stevenage made his Formula debut in 2007, and since then he has won six Drivers’ World Championships. At the time of writing, he is well on the way to his seventh. That would equal the record of German F1 legend Michael Schumacher. But you are probably not here to learn of Hamilton’s F1 prowess. You are here for the answer to the question: is Lewis Hamilton vegan?
The answer is a definitive yes – Lewis Hamilton is vegan and has been since 2017. And it’s not just Hamilton himself… even his dog Roscoe is vegan! He confirmed his shift towards veganism in September 2017 in an interview with the BBC’s Chief F1 writer, Andrew Benson. Hamilton stated that he had become a vegan for health, animal welfare and environmental reasons, the latter of which raised a few eyebrows, as we shall discuss.
What Has Lewis Hamilton Said About Veganism?
Hamilton has spoken in various interviews about veganism and related issues such as the environment. In the aforementioned BBC interview in 2017 he said:
I stopped eating red meat two years ago. I have generally been pescatarian for the majority of the year and now I’ve cut fish. As the human race, what we are doing to the world… the pollution coming from the amount of cows that are being produced is incredible.
He elaborated further:
They say it is more than what we produce with our flights and our cars, which is kind of crazy to think. The cruelty is horrible and I don’t necessarily want to support that and I want to live a healthier life.
Hamilton expanded on the health issues and suggested his family’s medical history was a factor in his decision. He discussed his veganism in an interview with the Sky Sports F1 team that was released on 1st September 2019.
He talks briefly about his inclusion in The Game Changers documentary, one of the most high profile and popular vegan documentaries out there. He is listed as an executive producer for the documentary and clearly buys into the health benefits of a vegan diet. He says he is attempting to use his platform for the good of the planet by elevating certain issues. These issues include climate change and environmental destruction in general. But some people – vegans and others – have called Hamilton out as a hypocrite given his day job.
After all, Hamilton drives a high-powered, carbon-emitting car for a living. And, he takes a lot of flights to compete in all corners of the globe. His fame is based on driving cars, something that is not exactly good for climate change. So, is he really the right person to advocate for veganism and environmental issues?
Is Lewis Hamilton a Hypocrite? (Isn’t EVERYONE?)
Let’s be clear here, no one is perfect. And, frankly, no one is a perfect vegan… whatever that even means (level five veganism anyone?!). Taking the definition of veganism literally, anything that potentially causes harm or exploitation to animals goes against the ethos. But given climate change is likely to harm animals, almost everything people do could be argued to contribute towards that. For instance, reading this article on a phone or computer relies on servers that use a lot of energy.
Eating fruit and vegetables is better than eating meat from an environmental perspective. But how many vegans are fastidious about checking the food miles of the produce they consume? Driving cars, heating homes, taking holidays, having children… even breathing! Almost everything we do has a potentially negative effect on the environment, and hence on animals.
Hamilton’s World Wide Platform
The vegan definition talks about avoiding harm, cruelty or exploitation of animals “as far as is possible and practicable”. For Hamilton, it would not be practicable to drive an electric car that uses electricity generated from offshore wind. Or indeed to avoid flying around the globe to attend his various professional engagements.
And, so it is inevitable that he necessarily causes some environmental damage, which might well have negative implications for animals. The thing is, he is in a position to promote veganism (and other positive causes) because he has driven cars. He has a platform that has been created by his prowess at a sport that necessarily causes greenhouse gases. But we think the good he does massively outweighs the bad.
How Much Is Influence Worth to Veganism?
Lewis Hamilton reaches millions of people through social media and advocates vegan and environmental causes. This almost certainly influences more and more people to go vegan and/or reduce their carbon emissions. As such, the net result is a gain for the environment and the animals. If Hamilton had decided as a young man to not go into F1 due to environmental concerns, you wouldn’t have heard of him. And neither would the many people who follow him and listen to his views about all kinds of issues.
In summary, he is attempting to use his public status to do some good and have a positive influence. We cannot criticise him for that. In fact, we applaud him for standing up for his beliefs and trying to instigate positive change.
When celebs stand up for causes they believe in, there will always be those aiming to shoot them down. To seek out that chink in their armour that shows them to be hypocritical. But that is not likely to help the vegan cause. Attempting to hold sporting stars or other people in the public eye to unrealistically high standards is destined to lead to disappointment. And, probably alienation of the person at whom the criticism is aimed.
Hamilton has used his position to elevate certain issues he thinks are important and made life changes to support them. To point to his racing cars emitting greenhouse gases as something that invalidates his views of veganism is simply illogical. But, hey, that appears to be the world in which we live at the moment. And, no doubt there will be plenty of people who see things differently. But let’s hope such people live up to their own high standards. If not, are they the true hypocrites for criticising those imperfect souls who speak up in support of animals?
Lewis Hamilton’s Motor Racing Career
Hamilton began racing remote-controlled cars as a young boy and starting karting at the age of eight. He soon showed a real knack for racing… and winning. He rose through the motor racing ranks of Formula Renault before winning the Formula 3 Euro Series in 2005. He won the GP2 series the following year and began his Formula 1 adventure for McLaren in 2007.
Here is a summary of how Hamilton has got on over his years in F1. In short, he’s done pretty darn well!
|2007||2nd||Hamilton started his debut season in style, finishing on the podium. He set the joint record for the most race wins in a debut season (four). And he ended the season as runner-up to Kimi Räikkönen by just a single point.|
|2008||1st||There was no missing out the following year though as Hamilton claimed his first world title – although the Brit left it very late. In fact, his one-point championship win was not confirmed until the final corner of the final race of the season.
Still, he got the required fifth-place finish in that Grand Prix and became the youngest world champion ever. (He has since lost that record to Sebastian Vettel).
|2009||5th||A few relatively lean years followed due to other cars being faster. But Hamilton was still bagging podium finishes and race wins. Fellow Brit Jenson Button was crowned champion.|
|2010||4th||The next few seasons were frustrating for Hamilton as German driver, Sebastian Vettel, took centre stage. The Red Bull Renault man’s car was significantly ahead of Hamilton’s McLaren in terms of performance and reliability.|
|2011||5th||Another disappointing season and another victory for Vettel.|
|2012||4th||Hamilton looked to be struggling with life at McLaren as the car was not able to match his ambitions. He decided to move teams, which was a big deal and a big surprise to many.|
|2013||4th||Winning just one race (in Hungary) in his first season for Mercedes, many assumed Hamilton’s change of teams was a mistake. Still, he was confident it was the right move… and so it would prove.|
|2014||1st||Hamilton got back on top of the world in 2014, winning by a margin of 67 points. For once, it was Vettel whose car was not up to scratch.|
|2015||1st||Hamilton’s third Drivers’ Championship came the following year. He finished ahead of teammate, Nico Rosberg, for the second year running.|
|2016||2nd||Rosberg took the honours in 2016 in a season dominated by the Mercedes duo. The title could have gone either way but Rosberg edged in by just five points from Hamilton. This was despite the Brit winning the last four races of the campaign.|
|2017||1st||Rosberg retired at the end of the 2016 season, which shocked the motor racing world. But it left F1 wide open for Hamilton to claim his fourth world title. He finished 46 points ahead of Vettel.
His fourth title moved him ahead of Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda, Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna in the all-time list of Drivers’ Championship winners.
|2018||1st||Hamilton was dominant in 2018 and ended the season 88 points ahead of his nearest rival, again Vettel. The triumph – his fifth title – took him ahead of F1 great Alain Prost… and also meant he had landed one more title than Vettel!|
|2019||1st||Another year, another title. This time Hamilton finished 87 points ahead of teammate, Valtteri Bottas. His sixth championship meant he overtook the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio. And there was only one man ahead of him in the all-time Drivers’ Championship winners list: Michael Schumacher.|
|2020||TBC||The season is ongoing at the time of writing.|
Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 Records
Hamilton has set various records over the years in Formula 1, and he continues to do so. Among others, at the time of writing Hamilton holds the following records:
- Most race wins (held jointly with Michael Schumacher)
- Most consecutive race starts
- Most races with the same engine manufacturer
- Most wins in first season (held jointly with Jacques Villeneuve)
- Most wins at the same Grand Prix (held jointly with Michael Schumacher)
- Number of pole positions
- Number of podium finishes
Many would argue Hamilton is already the greatest driver Formula 1 has ever seen. He can certainly confirm that notion in the next few years if he continues to perform at his current standards.
Lewis Hamilton Is Vegan: Conclusion
Is Lewis Hamilton vegan? Yes. Is Lewis Hamilton a perfect human being that has made only ethically sound decisions throughout his entire life? Well, obviously not. But as we suggest above, no one has. Hamilton has used his significant platform as a sporting hero to highlight many positive causes.
These have included his choice to become vegan, the Black Lives Matter movement, various environmental concerns and animal welfare issues. That he happens to earn a load of money for driving cars that emit carbon dioxide might upset some people. But we think the positives far outweigh the negatives in Hamilton’s case and he is a vegan who acts as a positive role model to millions around the world.