Six-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton has revealed the inner fire that is driving his current fight against racism.
Since the death of George Floyd in the United States, Hamilton has used his social media profile to deliver powerful anti-racist messages and highlight the changes he feels are required.
In his latest post on Instagram, Mercedes driver Hamilton's words run alongside a television news report from his early days in karting in which he and his father Anthony discuss the racist issues they were encountering at the time.
As far as Hamilton is concerned, around 25 years on and nothing has changed, and in particular, it has brought back memories of when he was abused both verbally and physically.
"I’ve been reading every day to try to stay on top of everything that’s been happening in our fight against racism, and it’s brought back so many painful memories from my childhood," said Hamilton.
"Vivid memories of the challenges I faced when I was a kid, as I’m sure many of you who have experienced racism or some sort of discrimination have faced.
"I have spoken so little about my personal experiences because I was taught to keep it in, don’t show weakness, kill them with love and beat them on the track.
"But when it was away from the track, I was bullied, beaten and the only way I could fight this was to learn to defend myself, so I went to karate. The negative psychological effects cannot be measured.
"This is why I drive the way I do, it is far deeper than just doing a sport, I’m still fighting."
Highlighting the importance of his dad, then and now, Hamilton added: "Thank God I had my father, a strong black figure who I could look up to, that I knew understood and would stand by my side no matter what.
"Not all of us have that but we need to stand together with those who may not have that hero to lean on and protect them. We must unite!"
Hamilton is now hoping that in the light of the incident surrounding Floyd, changes will occur.
"I have wondered why 2020 seemed so doomed from the start but I’m starting to believe that 2020 may just be the most important year of our lives, where we can finally start to change the systemic and social oppression of minorities," stated Hamilton.
"We just want to live, have the same chances at education, at life and not have to fear walking down the street, or going to school, or walking into a store whatever it may be. We deserve this as much as anyone.
"Equality is paramount to our future, we cannot stop fighting this fight. I for one will never give up!"
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