Just weeks after being crowned a five-time world champion, Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton has added another impressive accolade to his growing collection: PETA U.K.’s 2018 Person of the Year Award.

Hamilton — whose Instagram bio reads, “[Plant] Based Diet. Love Animals” — regularly shares photos of his protein-packed vegan meals online and encourages his 7.9 million followers to get on track when it comes to caring about animals and the environment by putting the brakes on their consumption of meat, egg, and dairy “products” in order to get on the road to good health and leave the other contenders in the dust.

“Lewis Hamilton’s healthy vegan eating and kind heart make him a winner and a role model,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk, a lifelong Formula 1 fan who has bequeathed a piece of her own heart to be buried at the Hockenheim racetrack after her death. “PETA encourages everyone to follow his lead, jump-start their own energy levels, and spare animals’ lives by going vegan.”

“[T]he pollution [in terms of greenhouse-gas emissions] coming from the amount of cows that are being produced is incredible,” says Hamilton of his decision to embrace vegan eating. “They say it is more than what we produce with our flights and our cars, which is kind of crazy to think. The cruelty is horrible and I don’t … want to support that and I want to live a healthier life.”

PETA — whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” — notes that in addition to sparing the lives of nearly 200 animals a year, going vegan reduces one’s risk of suffering from diabetes, obesity, cancer, heart disease, and numerous other health issues. Animals raised for food feel pain just as dogs, cats, and humans do, yet they’re often subjected to extreme crowding, filthy conditions, routine mutilations without pain relief, a terrifying trip to the slaughterhouse, and a violent, painful death in today’s meat, egg, and dairy industries.

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