Sir Lewis Hamilton says the conviction of a former police officer for the killing of George Floyd “marks a new dawn in the fight for racial justice”.
Chauvin was filmed kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during an arrest in May 2020.
“This is the first time that a white officer has been convicted for killing a black man in Minnesota,” Hamilton posted on Instagram.
“Convicting him of all three charges marks a new dawn in the fight for racial justice.
“Justice for George. This is monumental, George’s death is not in vain.
“We can now breathe a collective sigh of relief that the right decision has been met, and that justice has been served.
“Black voices have been heard and action is happening. When we stand together, we can make a difference.
“But this is just one step on the path towards a more equal society. The fight isn’t over, and there is more to be done, but we can consider today a glimmer of hope.”
Seven-time Formula 1 world champion Hamilton, 36, continues to kneel before races in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and has set up a joint charitable foundation with Mercedes to promote diversity.
Floyd’s murder sparked both calls for police reformation and protests across the world.
A day after former Minneapolis officer Chauvin was found guilty, it has been announced a federal investigation into police practices in the city will take place.
Former tennis world number one and 12-time women’s Grand Slam champion Billie Jean King tweeted: “The time to collectively examine the treatment of black people, in particular black boys/men, by some law enforcement is long overdue.
“The path to healing must begin.”
And following the verdict four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka, 23, wrote: “I was going to make a celebratory tweet but then I was hit with sadness because we are celebrating something that is clear as day. The fact that so many injustices occurred to make us hold our breath toward this outcome is really telling.”
The NBA said it will “redouble our efforts to advocate for meaningful change in the areas of criminal justice and policing”.
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James simply posted the word “accountability” and several other NBA names spoke out.
“Today showed to me the power of community,” said former Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers star Dwyane Wade.
“If there was any win, you can’t celebrate this, to me it was a win for accountability. We have got more work to do, we all know that.”
Tyronn Lue, head coach of the LA Clippers, added: “It’s still a sad day. It’s great to see someone being held accountable for their actions. It doesn’t bring George Floyd back.”
Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash commented: “I just hope that this is the type of statement by our justice system that gives hope and precedence for these type of verdicts to be the norm.”
In a statement on Twitter, the Minnesota Timberwolves wrote: “Throughout our history, racial and social injustices have been ingrained in our society. We are hopeful that today’s decision will serve as a step forward, but it does not ease the physical and emotional pain that continues in an environment where systemic racism exists.”