Lewis Hamilton says he was repeatedly called the 'n-word' as he opens up about racism in school
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Lewis Hamilton has opened up about the continued racism he has suffered throughout his life, particularly as a youngster in school.
The seven-time Formula One champion says he was repeatedly called the 'n-word' by other students and even had bananas thrown at him.
Hamilton is currently preparing for his 17th season in F1, but took some time away from his busy schedule to appear on the On Purpose podcast.
It was there that he shed some light on his youth and terrible racist abuse he was subject to while at school in Stevenage.
"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 1,200 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."
A number of Formula One drivers have continued to use their platforms to raise awareness about different societal and world issues close to their hearts.
For Hamilton, he has spread messages about police brutality and racism, as well as vocalising his support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
From wearing t-shirts with various messages on them to taking a knee ahead of races, the 38-year-old has become more than just a sports star as he has emerged as an activist too.
"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 added on the podcast.
"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."