I am excited about 40 years in cycling because I see an opportunity for diversity and equity

At 41, at the age of first experience with a race car, Lewis Hamilton is already one of the top five all-time laps per race driver of all time. He stands sixth, if you count Nico Rosberg’s wins from last year. He won the 2015 Formula One World Championship and is on course to win it again.

How does a guy who entered Formula One as an underfunded kid from Silverstone, England, emerge with a preternatural talent for pure speed?

Lewis Hamilton is fast because of hard work, determination and having an undying drive. In my four decades of motorsport, I’ve only ever seen one boy grow to become the living incarnation of “Thriller” by Michael Jackson: Lewis Hamilton.

When I think of Lewis Hamilton, I think of him not just for his talent but for what he represents to our entire culture – inclusion, respect, hard work and determination.

You can have a pre-dominant male in sports, but when it comes to women and girls, it’s never really about their talent. All it’s about is how they are treated. You can look at any area of our society, and of course in our sports, it’s clear we still have more than our fair share of disrespect for the female athlete.

Lewis Hamilton started out as a disabled/underprivileged kid from a poor, low-income, minority family. You have to have perseverance to get to where he is. And he does what he does because he loves it. I love it. It’s just great to be a part of the sport. I’ve been privileged to be the boy-racer in a series that helped me gain so much confidence, work ethic and fortitude.

Going into my 40s, I’m looking forward to a few new things. I’m the CEO of Lexus of America and as my business turns 40, it’s time to rev up the engine a little bit. With four years of Lewis Hamilton, I’m in great shape. I feel like I’m ready to take on the challenges ahead.

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