I remember first hearing about the up & coming Lewis Hamilton in 2007 from my German uncle who was very much into racing. Learning about this young Black racer who was set to be the future of the sport got me interested in racing outside of playing video games. If you don’t know Lewis Hamilton, he is a biracial British Formula One driver for Mercedes. He is widely regarded as one of the best F1 drivers in the sports’ entire history and he’s only 33.
He currently holds records for most circuit victories at differing circuits, most pole positions, most grand slams for a season, most consecutive podium finishes from his debut, most points in a racer’s debut season and the all-time record for most career points. Oh and he is also the first and only Black Formula One racer. It doesn’t stop there. He is also the youngest Formula One World Champion. To see how he won in dramatic fashion in 2008, click the link below.
Currently he sits alone with 4 other drivers who have won four or more World Championships. The other three are all retired. Hamilton says that he got into racing because of a toy remote control car his father bought him in 1991. As a 6 year old kid, he managed to win remote-controlled car and championship races against adults. His father, Anthony Hamilton, saw the talent he had and bought him his first go kart for Christmas later that year but told him he would only support his racing as long as he kept his grades up. It is amazing what kids can accomplish with support. His father had to take up up to three jobs to support Hamilton’s racing career but still found time to attend his son’s races.
Being the first Black to do anything, usually guarantees one will encounter racism; and Hamilton was no exception to the rule. In Barcelona, he experienced Spanish spectators dressed in Black face paint, shouting racial obscenities and wearing derogatory words on their shirts. This was due to his intense rivalry with fellow F1 racer and Spaniard, Fernando Alonso who condemned his racists supporters. More on that story here.
Hamilton won the GQ Sportman of the Year in back to back years in 2014 and 2015. He also received the Best Driver ESPY Award in 2017. Many expect more awards to follow as he races to become the best driver in Formula One history. ✊]]>