Bananas were thrown at Lewis Hamilton during school days – “It was the most traumatising time of my life”

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has opened up on a difficult childhood in Stevenage, where he was subject to racism in being called the ‘n-word’ and having bananas thrown at him during his school years.

Hamilton discussed how it was a difficult period for him and how it shaped him mentally.

“For me, school was the most traumatising and most difficult part of my life,” Hamilton said.

“I was already being bullied at the age of six. At that particular school I was one of three kids of colour and just bigger, stronger, bullying kids were throwing me around a lot of the time.

“And the constant jabs, the things that are either thrown at you, like bananas, or people that would use the n-word just so relaxed. People calling you half-caste and not knowing where you fit in. That for me was difficult.

“In my (secondary) school there were six or seven black kids out of 1200 kids and three of us were put outside the headmasters’ office all the time. The headmaster just had it out for us – and particularly me.

“I felt the system was up against me and I was swimming against the tide. There were a lot of things I suppressed.

“I didn’t feel I could go home and tell my parents that these kids kept calling me the n-word, or I got bullied or beaten up at school today. I didn’t want my dad to think I was not strong.”

Although he himself has led the fight for greater inclusion and diversity in F1, he is still the only black driver in the sport.

Mission 44 has been established by Hamilton to propel greater diversity and inclusion in motorsport.

Will Hamilton extend Mercedes deal?

The 38-year-old British driver currently has a deal at Mercedes that expires at the end of the season.

However, team principal Toto Wolff has already spoken about how it is a priority for him to sort out Hamilton’s long-term future during the off-season.

Hamilton may have spoken in the past about being tempted to start a career in the entertainment industry and call an end to his F1 career, but his hunger to remain in motorsport seems to have returned on the back of two seasons without a title.

The Silver Arrows racer discussed his future plans.

“It is going to be really, really hard when I stop racing. I have been doing it for 30 years. When you stop, what is going to match that,” Hamilton said.

“Nothing is going to match being in a stadium, being at a race, being at the pinnacle of the sport and being at the front of the grid or coming through the grid and that emotion that I get with that.

“When I do stop there will be a big hole so I am trying to focus and find things that can replace that and be just as rewarding.”

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