Lewis Hamilton says his dream now is to have children and “be a father like my dad one day, but better”, and adds he wants to “carry on the Hamilton name and make him proud”.
In an interview with The Guardian Lewis Hamilton opened up about the difficulties he faced as a Black person in motorsport.
“I’d be in Newcastle and people would shout, ‘Go back to your country,’” the Briton said.
“Or in Spain in 2008, when people painted themselves black and put on wigs and were really mocking my family. I remember the sport not saying anything about it.”
Although Lewis didn’t start publicly voicing his anti racism message immediately, he would sometimes hit back at the FIA and others when he felt he was being discriminated against.
For example, after being punished by the stewards three times in two days at the 2011 Monaco Grand Prix, Lewis used a popular line by Ali G to jokingly hit back at them. Lewis said it happened “maybe it’s because I’m Black” and faced a severe backlash.
“It often felt that maybe I didn’t speak about it in the right way, or wasn’t great at explaining it, or maybe educated enough to talk about it,” the seven-time champion explained.
“Either way I got a lot of pushback and it seemed like more hassle than it was worth, so I reverted to just doing my talking on the track.
“I remember not being able to be myself. Or not being able to speak the way I want to speak. I remember feeling that I had to be a different shape.
“The entry point to my sport was a square and I was like a hexagon, and I thought: ‘I’m never going to fit through that bloody thing.’
“That’s the point of all this inclusivity, including people and not asking them to change in order to fit. I had to morph my way in order to fit into that world, and then try to get back into the shape I was before.”
In 2020, after the murder of George Floyd Lewis started publicly lending his voice to the fight for racial justice.
“This wrath [sic] of emotions came up and I couldn’t contain myself. I was in tears, and this stuff came up that I’d suppressed over all these years.
“It was so powerful and sad and also releasing, and I thought: ‘I can’t stay quiet. I need to speak out because there are people experiencing what I’m experiencing, or ten times worse, or a hundred times worse – and they need me right now.’
“When I did speak out, that was me letting the Black community know: ‘I hear you and I stand with you.’”
But, Lewis says his fight off the track isn’t a distraction from his quest to win his eighth world title.
“I feel like I was built for this. There’s got to be a reason that I’m not only the only Black driver but the one at the front. And it’s not just about winning.
“I won the world championship last year and in that year everything became visible, and I felt that my purpose was shown to me and now I’m on that journey.
“I don’t see it as a burden. It was definitely liberating to be able to be open and speak about things, for people to know that there’s much more to me than perhaps they realised from watching me on TV.
“There’s a reason it was suppressed over all that time. If it happened any sooner I wouldn’t be ready, wouldn’t be strong enough to handle it. I wouldn’t be able to do my job as well and do both things at the same time.
“But now I’m equipped with the tools to do so. I look at my niece and nephew. I look at my little cousins, and I think: ‘How can I make things better for you guys and your friends?’”
And what about Lewis starting a family of his own one day?
“My dream now is to be a father like my dad one day, but better. Just as he wanted to be like his dad one day, but a better version of his dad.
“I want to carry on the Hamilton name and make him proud.”
However, he’s “not there yet”.
“We’ll see where we can go. As the years pass, you realise that success is a wonderful thing, But it feels relatively short-lived.
“I don’t just want to be remembered as a driver, because I care about so many more different things,” Lewis concluded.