Lewis Hamilton has dedicated his pole position at the Belgian Grand Prix to Chadwick Boseman following the actor’s death at the age of 43.
The “Black Panther” star was diagnosed with colon cancer four years ago but never made the news public, and continued to make films while battling the disease until he passed away on Friday. Hamilton posted about Boseman — who he met in New York — on Saturday morning and after dominating qualifying to take his 93rd pole position paid tribute to the iconic actor.
“It’s a really important pole for me because I woke up to the saddest news of Chadwick passing away,” Hamilton said. “It’s been such a heavy year for all of us and that news just really broke me. It was not easy to get back in focus coming in today with that hanging on my heart, but I was like, ‘I want to go out there and drive to perfection.’
“What he has done for our people… this superhero shows all these young kids that it’s possible. He was such a shining light. So we carry that forever.
“It has not been an easy day, I think, for the world — our superhero, a superhero died last night. That was really weighing heavy on me today, I was so driven to deliver a good performance today so that I could dedicate it to Chad.
“I was really, really lucky I got to meet him once and tell him how awesome he was. I remember when I was a kid that Superman was a superhero, didn’t look like me, but I still thought Superman was the greatest.
“When Chad became the King, when he became a superhero in Wakanda (in the movie) it was such a special day for so many people as I know kids like myself will be able to now look up to him and it is possible to do what he did, so this one’s dedicated to him.”
Hamilton was over half a second clear of Valtteri Bottas as he secured pole, and says it was one of his better all-round performances rather than noting a particular strength over his team-mate.
“Ultimately, the team did such a great job over these past couple of days — just timing, as you saw, getting out on front of everyone at the end. It was nice to have a clear straightaway ahead of me and then otherwise just working away at the setup.
“With the engineers we are just constantly pushing each other to improve. It’s not an easy thing to do and continue to raise the bar but I think we’ve done a really great job this weekend with the guys here and the guys back at the factory, so a big thank you to them. And then otherwise it was just focusing, studying the lap and then executing.
“That’s got to be one of the cleanest qualifying sessions I think I’ve ever had. Every lap was bang on the dot. No mistakes, no real issues. Q3 is always a hard one because you want to get the first lap and the first lap was great and I thought it was pretty much a perfect lap and then I managed to go out and find a little bit more in a couple of other areas.
“It was nice to have that gap, that six tenths in the first laps, then I could really explore on that next one and try to take even more of a risk. Yeah, a phenomenal feeling driving around this track, because it’s incredible how fast it’s become.”