Lewis Hamilton says he was bullied at school as a child, but managed to “stand up for himself” when he started racing.
In a video interview with Mercedes the Briton was asked if he ever doubted his ability behind the wheel.
“No,” answered Hamilton bluntly.
“It’s really strange. Naturally, I have that question and sometimes that feeling with other things. I’m not always the most positive person.
“I try everything, but there are things you try and you keep failing and you’re like, ‘dang, I suck’, and I can be really negative for a moment and I’m like ‘no, keep going, keep going’.
“I still have the willpower to get past that wall that hits me in the face, but when it comes to driving, no.
“I literally – I’ve done it my whole life, and that’s the thing that has given me so much confidence. I get in this car, I put the helmet on and I’m able to be whoever I want to be.
“I could be Superman under that helmet if I wanted to be.”
Hamilton goes on to explain how racing helped him stand up for himself.
“Generally, when I was at school – I was bullied at school. I was the little kid and was bullied on by the bigger kids, so I was very much within my cocoon or my own little space. It was very quiet, but when I get in the car, I’m able to put out my own elbows and stand up for myself.
“Eventually I got confidence and was able to help stand up for others that were getting bullied at school. Because I went to karate and got a black belt, I could whoop someone’s butt, which was amazing.”
In the end Hamilton managed to recall an instance when he did doubt his driving ability.
“I think there was one moment a long, long time ago when I was in Formula Renault, but I got up and went for a 14-mile run the next day and it passed,” concluded the six-time champion.