Hamilton salutes ‘Black Panther’ actor, pleads for end to ‘boring’ racing

Hamilton gestures as he stands on the podium at the Spa-Francorchamps racetrack in Spa on Aug 30. (AP pic)

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS: Lewis Hamilton saluted actor Chadwick Boseman on the podium after a majestic 89th career win at the Belgian Grand Prix and then said he would prefer to have to fight harder for victories.

The championship leader and six-time Formula One champion made the crossed-forearms gesture from the “Black Panther” movies in respect for Hollywood star Boseman, who died on Friday, and to whose memory he had dedicated his 93rd pole position on Saturday.

Hamilton said he had been inspired by Boseman to produce another flawless performance.

“It feels great to finish on a high this weekend, particularly with Chad dying because he made everyone feel like a superhero.”

Hamilton claimed his fifth win in seven outings this year to increase his lead in the title race to 47 points.

His teammate Valtteri Bottas was second.

“I know it is not necessarily what everyone wants to see – the two Mercedes at the front,” said Hamilton.

He said he would prefer to have closer racing with multi-stop strategies, instead of one-stop, as most drivers finished Sunday’s race managing their tyres.

“Today was really all about tyres. Everyone doing this one-stop thing – it’s really boring. At the end of the day, we are all managing out there, which is not racing. At the end, we are backing off, maybe it would have been fine but it was too big a risk today,” he said.

“I really, really would like to have more of a fight, but that is not on me.”

Hamilton said that the Mercedes domination was a product of the team’s approach.

“No matter how much success we have, we have to keep our heads down,” he said.

“It’s an incredible mentality and I feel so privileged to be a part of this team.”

He said that although his race appeared to be under control from lights to flag, it had ended tensely as he nursed his car to the finish on worn tyres.

“It was a bit of a struggle, but nonetheless it was ok,” he said.

“I was a little nervous that we may have something like that which we had at Silverstone with the tyre – so I was nursing it to the end.”

Hamilton won the British Grand Prix on three good wheels after suffering a last lap puncture.

He added that, on a personal level, he felt confident, fit and strong ahead of the races ahead, starting with two in Italy in successive weeks.

“I am 35 now, going towards 36, but I feel better than ever,” he said.

“That’s positive.”

Bottas said he had been unable to catch Hamilton.

“Lewis played the start really well and I couldn’t get the momentum. I think he was faultless today and yesterday, of course, he was quick. I did my best and I am glad there is another opportunity next weekend.”