ALEXIA’S TAKE: The Women Behind Lewis Hamilton’s Success

© Sebastian Kawka for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix ltd.

By Alexia Tibil

What does it take to become successful at whatever it is that you do? Does success revolve around the work and the hours that you put in behind the scenes? Absolutely, but not only.

It does also takes a great deal of people that work together as a team with a common goal to push an individual towards the highest of successes. And so, whenever given the chance, Lewis Hamilton never ceases to praise all the people that have been around him since he first thought of pursuing a career in motorsport. And if we were to take a deeper look at his statements, we could see a pattern: he is always mentioning the fact that the reason that he has got the great success that he has is linked to all the powerful women that have shaped him since the earliest stages.

Although motorsport in general is still a white male dominated sport, Hamilton has always been the voice for every minority there is. And he has always been especially passionate about women in motorsport, and no wonder, as he has been surrounded by strong women all his life. Additionally, his professional career has made him understand the importance of a diverse group in any work environment, especially in motorsport, a place in which for years diversity has been very hard to find.

“I think for us men, we need to be championing women more and more,” Lewis said at the beginning of the year during a Mercedes media session in Australia.

Then he spoke of his biological mom Carmen Larbalestier and his stepmom Linda Hamilton:

“One of the reasons that I’m here today and have the success is that I’ve actually got two moms, two incredibly independent, powerful women.

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“And I’ve got a whole team of women behind me who power me every day,” Lewis added proudly.

And right afterwards he couldn’t keep on going without mentioning Angela Cullen, his physio, but more importantly, his right-hand person on track. In the past few years, we have all been witnessing Hamilton winning races in every part of the world on the most challenging circuits out there, and we have seen Angela by his side at all times. Since joining the Team in 2016, Lewis has described the New Zealand native as “the greatest thing to happen for me”.

“I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of people… and she’s the single-hardest working woman that I get to be around,” he added.

“She’s focused, selfless, and she makes my weekends peaceful.”

The positivity around Angela’s personality has been changing the dynamics within the Mercedes, and not only because she is a woman, but because the energy she brings is felt throughout the paddock in a unique way, some might say.

When it comes to his moms, Hamilton always pays tribute to the way they raised him and how they both shaped him into the man that he is today. In the aforementioned interview back in Australia, Hamilton talked about how his stepmom Linda worked together with his dad Anthony, so that he would be able to race. He mentioned that he is utterly grateful beyond words for all the sacrifices that she has made, and  he proudly remembers how she was the first person to stitch his name into his first racing suit.

“That supportive structure that both my moms have given me has enabled me to excel,” he said.

And when talking about compassion and empathy, he said he feels he “really got that from both my mothers’ side”.

Behind every great champion, there are those few people who make the difference. No matter the sport, there is always a team or a group of people behind each athlete. Former tennis player Serena Williams, who picked up a tennis racket through her dad, has always been with her mom on tour, ever since she started travelling the world. And, besides her mom’s immense support, there has always been Venus, her sister, who has been there no matter what. So, like in Lewis’ case, a great deal of powerful women have managed to push for great successes, successes for the history books.

Feeling like there is little to no compassion and empathy in the world right about now, Hamilton has said that growing up in such a tough yet gentle environment has made him as fortunate as he is today, holding all these titles and breaking records by the race. So, whether it was his moms’, his sister’s or Angela’s influence, Hamilton has been shaped into the voice of every minority around the world because of the environment he was raised in. Pushing for more women in motorsport and for a more diverse and inclusive work environment has been the core of his work in the past couple of years and you could see it by a mile. And the world is all the better for it.

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