Lewis Hamilton, a seven-time Formula One winner, spoke about the “traumatizing” racism he claims to have experienced at school in a recent episode of the podcast “On Purpose” with Jay Shetty.
“The most traumatic and challenging period of my life was school. At the age of six, I was already a victim of bullying, the Mercedes driver claimed.
United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, December 12: On December 12, 2021, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, at the Yas Marina Circuit, Lewis Hamilton, the championship’s runner-up and driver for Mercedes GP, sits in second place and appears defeated. (Image courtesy of Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
After competing against Max Verstappen for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix championship, Lewis Hamilton claims his “worst fears come life.”
I was one of three children of race at that specific school, and bigger, more aggressive students frequently threw me around, according to the Mercedes driver.
“And the continual insults, the objects thrown at you like bananas, or the folks who would casually use the N-word. People making racial slurs against you and asking where you belong. That was challenging,” he continued.
Hamilton said, “In my [secondary] school, there were six or seven Black students out of 1,200 students, and three of us were always placed outside the headmaster’s office.
I felt like I was swimming against the tide and that the system was working against me. There were many things I kept inside.
“I didn’t feel like I could go home and tell my parents that these kids kept using the N-word to refer to me, that I was bullied or physically assaulted at school today, or that I was unable to protect myself. I didn’t want my father to believe I was weak, he continued.
Schools in Hamilton were contacted by CNN, but no comments were given.
The 38-year-old Hamilton makes his debut podcast appearance in the lengthy, in-depth conversation that lasts more than an hour.
The sole Black driver in Formula One is Lewis Hamilton, who was born in Stevenage. In 2021, he teamed up with Mercedes to start Ignite, a nonprofit project to promote more inclusion and diversity in the motorsports industry.
Hamilton also established Mission 44, an organization that seeks to improve the lives of members of underrepresented communities.
On March 5, Hamilton will compete in his 17th F1 season at the Bahrain Grand Prix.