In Depth

Why everyone’s talking about Lewis Hamilton

The F1 star says he feels like ‘giving up’ in emotional online message

Lewis Hamilton has triggered widespread concern for his mental well-being after telling fans that he feels “like giving up on everything” and just “shutting down completely”.

The British Formula 1 world champion posted a long, emotional message on his Instagram story on Tuesday saying that the world is “a mess” and that “people don’t seem to care”.

“I want my life to mean something, and honestly up until now my life has had no meaning,” he added.

The post comes days after Hamilton competed in the Grand Prix in Japan, where he used his social media platform to highlight environmental issues, including uploading videos of dolphin hunters, the BBC reports.

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What else did Hamilton say?

Hamilton’s post - now no longer viewable - encouraged his 13.1 million followers to “go vegan, it is the only way to truly save our planet today”.

The star is a recent convert to veganism and last month opened Neat Burger, a new London restaurant that uses only plant-based ingredients.

His Instagram message continued: “I’m sad right now with the thought of where this world is going. Extinction of our race is becoming more and more likely as we over use our resources...

“Agriculture farming is the largest pollutant we currently have by over 50 per cent, far more than our travel industry combined. I’m sad to see so many people, even close friends, ignore what is happening daily.”

And the response?

“For all Hamilton’s sincerity, he has invited charges of hypocrisy given the size of his own carbon footprint,” says The Telegraph.

The F1 legend travelled to races in his own private jet for many years, and while he has now sold the plane, he still regularly flies to faraway destinations.

And at Mercedes, he serves as an ambassador for Petronas, one of the world’s largest oil and gas giants.

Then, of course, there’s the day job.

“There is a direct relationship between an engine’s performance and the amount of greenhouse gases it produces: the faster the car, the quicker it cooks the planet,” says The Guardian. “At the moment, there is no foreseeable means by which a racing car’s emissions can be brought down by 90% within the necessary time frame.” 

What’s next?

Hamilton wrote in his message that he was “going to take a moment away to gather my thoughts”, and has yet to post anything else or appear publicly.

He has four races remaining in the current Formula One season, starting in Mexico before going on to the US, Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

Commenting on the Instagram message,  Mercedes spokesperson told Germany’s SID news agency: “I think he was responding to environmental issues and not anything related to racing.

“However, I’m not sure.” 

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