Hamilton: Seventh F1 title would 'mean more' amid 2020 challenges

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Lewis Hamilton says winning the Formula 1 title would "mean more" in 2020 due to the external challenges the world is facing.

Almost four months after the Australian Grand Prix was cancelled at the last minute following a positive coronavirus case, this weekend finally sees the new season get underway in Austria albeit under a 'new normal' with no fans and teams separated into 'bubbles'.

At the same time, Hamilton has spearheaded F1 into launching initiatives against racism and promoting diversity in motorsport through his social media activism.

And with a lot of his focus on these off-track matters, Lewis claims adding what would be a record-equalling seventh championship on top would make it special.

“Winning a title this year would mean more as it is such a momentous year in the sense of this pandemic that we’re fighting, but also, on a more personal level, the BLM [Black Lives Matter] movement and the fight against injustice and for equality,” he said on Thursday.

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“To be fighting for something so important, it’s not going to change really in our time, in our generation, but for our kids and for their kids it’s such an important moment.

“So yes, winning a world title in this time would mean more than before.”

Based on first practice on Friday in Austria, the initial signs are very good with Hamilton quickest and Mercedes 0.6s clear of Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

But the Briton is more than aware of the threat the Dutchman and his team pose to his crown.

“I mean, they looked quite strong through testing. It was quite close between the top three teams in testing and I think Red Bull particularly being the closest to us from our understanding," he said.

"Max is progressing year on year, so I anticipate they’re going to be strong competitors.

“They are always very strong here at this track, so definitely going to be a challenge these two weekends.

“But I’m excited to see how that goes."