Lewis Hamilton Remembers Being Bullied and Racially Harassed While at School

Lewis Hamilton Remembers Being Bullied and Racially Harassed While at School

Great Formula One When Lewis Hamilton was just six years old, he was bullied, and he said that when he was subjected to racist insults at school, bananas were thrown at him.

The only Black driver in Formula One and seven-time champion declared his school years the most terrible period of his life.

In a conversation for the On Purpose podcast, which was made available on Monday, Hamilton stated, "For me, school was probably the most traumatising and most challenging phase of my life."

"At the age of six, I had already experienced bullying... I believe I was one of three children of colour at that time attending that specific school, and larger, stronger, bullies often threw me about.

Hamilton, who was up in Stevenage, England, also spoke of the solitude and bewilderment he experienced as well as how racist harassment persisted throughout his time in school.

And then there are the continual jabs (jibes), the stuff thrown at you like bananas, and the folks who would casually utter the N-word. The 38-year-old Hamilton said on the podcast programme, "People label you half-caste and simply truly don't know where you belong in.

"That was challenging for me, and then in history class we learned that there were no persons of colour in the historical events they were teaching us. So I asked myself, "Where are the folks that resemble me?"

Even authorities, according to Hamilton, would be rude to him.

Out of 1,200 students, only six or seven were black, and three of us were constantly placed outside the headmaster's office, he said. "The headmaster just had it out for us, and I would say especially for me.

"At school, I was placed in all the lowest sets and told that if I did well, I may advance. No matter how hard I worked, they never once allowed me to advance.

"I felt like I was swimming against the flow and that the system was against me."

Even during moments of fun, according to Hamilton, he felt the sour sting of exclusion.

"Whenever they were drafting football teams, you know, standing in a line, I was always the last selected" (soccer). I was never picked first or even selected at all. Even if I were superior to someone else," he said.

"On top of struggling in school, I'm just balancing all these feelings that you're experiencing. I didn't realise I was dyslexic until I was 16 years old.

When he arrived home, Hamilton said, he suppressed his grief and put on a brave smile.

There were several things I repressed. I didn't feel like I could go home and tell my parents that these students continued using the N-word to describe me today, that I was harassed or beaten up at school today, or that I wasn't able to defend myself, he said.

"I didn't want my dad to believe I wasn't strong, so I would suppress my tears and express my feelings in a private space. I wasn't able to direct this emotion I was feeling into my driving until I began racing.

With 103 Grand Prix victories and 103 pole places, Hamilton holds the F1 record and shares it with Michael Schumacher, another legendary driver.

The Mercedes driver, who went the whole season without a Grand Prix victory, starts his pursuit of an eighth F1 championship on March 5 in Bahrain.

Hamilton has made a name for himself off the track in recent years by constantly fighting racism and encouraging other Formula One athletes to speak out more.

Hamilton founded "The Hamilton Commission" to increase F1's diversity and has been vocal about violations of human rights in nations where the sport has competitions.

Following reports that Nelson Piquet, a former champion, had allegedly used a racial slur against him, Hamilton said last year that "archaic ideas" needed to change.