Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton says that, the racist bullying he suffered when he was young made him a “tougher” man and more determined to succeed in F1.
“I had a lot of racism growing up where I grew up, Bullied at school. It definitely encouraged me. It’s like battle wounds – you come out the other side and it just makes you tougher. Hamilton told Complex magazine
“My dad (Antony Hamilton) always said, ‘Do your talking on the track,’ so from day one I always did my talking on the track. ‘Let your results speak louder than anything you have to say. You don’t have to say anything to these people.’
“But you know, I had kids shouting stuff, teachers that told me, ‘You’re never going to be a racing driver, you’ll never amount to nothing.” Just really just trying to pull you down.'”
“We arrived, the go-kart was stuffed in the back of the trunk, and all these people had tents and RVs and the best stuff. And we were just so amateur, you know? And it wasn’t like they stopped but they all looked. And it was almost exactly like that. Like, all eyes are on us.
“What are they doing here?” We were the only black family. And it was just like that every weekend we arrived. “
He became recently more outspoken about racial issues, and has won over a lot of people in doing so. I know the UK and America are different, but there are some similarities in terms of overall tension within the countries. Melo’s been really outspoken about these issues. Going back to looking at how you’ve been criticized throughout your career—and source asked — are you able to even talk about race?
I’ve been in this sport for a long time now and it’s kind of been like, “Don’t get into that subject. Don’t talk too much about it.” It has always been an issue and for sure people in the limelight are guarded about what they’ve built and created. I see the things that go on and I feel a certain way about it. But [it’s about] making sure if you are saying something, if you’re doing something, it’s for the right reasons in the right way. It’s just hard to strike a balance, I think.
The Brit explained that this was why he was able to shrug off current day criticism of his lifestyle.
“There was a point where I actually cared. And I guess just with age, I got to the point where I don’t need your validation. I know my heart. I know how hard I work. I know my values. I know the love for my family. I know who I am as a person. And I enjoy my life.”