And then it was Christmas. It’s been a difficult few months in which to celebrate personal successes – births, engagements, anniversaries, milestone birthdays – while so many people have been losing their jobs, or, heartbreakingly, worse.
Lewis Hamilton had more than most to celebrate in 2020. And more than most at which to despair. During a year defined by global protests against racial injustice, Lewis transcended his sport to assume a principal position in the Black Lives Matter movement, taking a knee before each Grand Prix while a number of his fellow competitors, claiming political impartiality, among other reasons, chose not to do so.
We spoke to Lewis shortly after he’d finished qualifying at November’s Turkish Grand Prix (p.38). “I will remember this period of my life as an awakening for society,” he said, the prospect of equalling Michael Schumacher’s seven world championship titles the following day tempered by his steadfast commitment to accelerate not just conversations, but real world action, wherever racial inequality rears its head. “The death of George Floyd acted like a giant rock dropped in a pool of water. It created a ripple effect which has spread throughout the world – we now have to ensure those ripples don’t fade away.”
On the theme of metaphors, if you’ve still been bothering with the government’s press briefings, you may have heard that someone’s been tooting the bugle (no, not that kind). The cavalry is coming, someone somewhere has slipped a penalty past a goalie, and the shiny vaccine train, which this year stands in for the Coco-Cola truck, is jingling in the distance. Whisper it but it looks like we’re almost out of the woods. The home run, the last lap, not quite yet, but soon.
Which of your pre-Covid freedoms have you missed the most? Visiting inspiring exhibitions (p.48), the thrill of new restaurants (p.60), proper shopping (p.87) or that total, barefoot, phone-off escapism that waits at the end of a flight (p.115)? How about the elements of lockdown you are terrified of losing? It hasn’t been all bad.
The drumming’s getting louder. They’ll be here soon. In the meantime, Happy Christmas, stay safe, see you in the New Year, perhaps.