Lewis Hamilton: “For so long in my life I felt like I was dimming my light”

Lewis Hamilton says he didn’t feel “welcome” and “accepted” when he first came to Formula 1, and it all came to a head when he won his seventh world title.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Lewis Hamilton revealed he felt like he wasn’t accepted by Formula 1’s establishment when he first came to the sport in 2007.

“I didn’t feel like I was welcome, I didn’t feel like I was accepted,” the Briton said.

“God knows how many of these drivers say: ‘This is not what a Formula 1 driver is. That’s not how you behave. This is not how you do it. Tattoos? No! A Formula 1 driver doesn’t have tattoos! A Formula 1 driver doesn’t have a personality—and piercings!’”

Lewis also revealed that for a long time he wasn’t allowing himself to unleash his full potential. He now has a tattoo on his chest which says ‘Powerful Beyond Measure’, words taken from a longer quote by the writer Marianne Williamson:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.”

Lewis explained what these words mean to him.

“I read it, and I thought it was one of the greatest sayings ever,” he said.

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“We limit ourselves the majority of the time. And where it really hit me hard is: We should never have to dim our light in order to make others feel…

“If anything, we should shine as bright as we can to liberate others to do the same. I live my life by that quote.

“For so long in my life, I felt like I was dimming my light because I felt uncomfortable.”

He says all these obstacles, self-doubts and personal limitations came to a head when he won his record-equalling seventh world title in 2020.

“Just all these past experiences, all the doubts that I had to overcome. It was one of the most emotional experiences of my life. That’s why I said, ‘This is to all those kids out there…’”

The exact words Lewis uttered over the radio when he crossed the finish line were: “That’s for all the kids out there who dream the impossible”. He explains the meaning behind these words.

“I would just always have, in the back of my mind, people telling me that ‘you’re never going to be able to achieve that…. There’s no way you’re going to do this’,” Hamilton concluded.

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