Hamilton dedicates pole to Chadwick Boseman, does Wakanda salute

Lewis Hamilton dedicated pole position at the Belgian Grand Prix to actor Chadwick Boseman, who passed away at age 43 on Friday night.

Hamilton, the only Black F1 driver in history, was in a league of his own at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, finishing 0.5s clear of the next nearest car, Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas. He will start Sunday's race from the front of the grid.

While driving back to the pits, Hamilton paid tribute to Boseman.

"That one's for Chadwick Boseman, man," he said. "Rest in peace."

Climbing out of the car, Hamilton did the Wakanda salute Boseman made famous as the title character in "Black Panther."

Speaking after the session, Hamilton said the news had deeply affected him on Saturday morning and had left him determined to finish the session at the front.

"It's a really important pole for me because I woke up to the saddest news of Chadwick passing away," he said. "It's such a heavy year for all of us and that news just really, really broke me.

"It was really not easy to get back into focus today with that hanging on my heart, but I was like 'I've got to go out there and drive to perfection' because what he's done for our people and what he's done for the superhero shows all these young kids that it's possible.

"He was such a shining light. Wakanda forever."

Hamilton later spoke of his regret at not knowing Boseman better, saying they had met at two events in the past.

"I didn't know him know him, I wasn't in touch with him unfortunately, I wish I had the privilege of that, we met in New York during fashion week possibly last year or maybe the year before," he said. "We were at the same dinner, I think I also met him at the Met Gala and I saw him a couple of times throughout the rest of the night and we actually kind of partied away together, on the same table basically.

"It was an incredible scenario. I remember talking to him.

"I remember when Black Panther came out, huge, huge Marvel fan, so just knowing how Hollywood has been for a long long time and to see the first black superhero come out... ah man, everyone was just so proud to really represent and again I think the whole thing in general, this underrepresentation is such a common thing, to be able to see someone make it like him, and be such a powerful figure within the Avengers world, it was incredible, such an honour, and inspiring, young kids, I can imagine a black young kid looking up and seeing it's possible to he a superhero now. His legacy will always live on."