Formula 1 superstar Lewis Hamilton opens up about the racism and bullying he faced as a kid … and said his classmates called him the N-word during “the most traumatizing and difficult part of my life.”
The 7-time world champion made a rare podcast appearance this week with “On Purpose with Jay Shetty” … where he spoke about the impact his childhood experiences had on his life.
“I was bullied from the age of six,” Hamilton said. “I think at the time of that particular school I was probably one of three kids of color and just bigger and stronger bullying kids throwing me around most of the time.”
“I was always the last one picked, you know, when you’re on the playground and you stand in line when they pick teams for football, I was always the last one picked, or not even picked, too when I was better than someone else.”
Hamilton, 38 – who is multiracial – said the way his peers treated him made him question his identity and sense of belonging… and claimed people even threw bananas at him and the N-word “just like that” used relaxed.”
“People call you half cast and just don’t know where you fit in,” he added.
“That was difficult for me. Then when you go to history class and everything you learn in history, there are no images of colored people in the history that they taught us.”
FYI, Lewis’ father, Anthony Hamiltonis black and of Grenadian descent, and his mother, Carmen Larbalestieris white British and comes from Birmingham in England.
Hamilton, a prominent anti-racism and diversity advocate in motorsport, repressed the trauma he was experiencing… but said racing helped him channel his emotions properly.
“I didn’t want my dad to think I wasn’t strong,” he said. “And so, if I had tears, I would hold them back. If I had emotions it would be in a quiet place.”
“Until I started racing, I wasn’t really able to channel those emotions that I was having into my driving,” Hamilton said. “And when I put that helmet on, Superman was my favorite. I loved how he fought for people and I loved how he did the right things.”
“And he was a really inspirational character to me. But again, no superhero was colored, so you know, but you can still aspire to be someone if they don’t look like you, you know?”
Hamilton is now dedicated to using his platform for good… including promoting diversity in the sport he has dominated for years.