Lewis Hamilton has revealed to bearing no ill will towards those who once abused him and used "horrible words" as he attempted to forge his fledgling motorsport career.
Hamilton was speaking in the immediate aftermath of his record-equalling feat in securing his 91st Formula 1 victory to match the haul of Michael Schumacher that had stood for 14 years.
Asked as to what his old schoolmates, karting rivals and teachers would likely think of him now, the 35-year-old Mercedes driver is at least hoping those who previously criticised him no longer have bad feelings towards him and have since matured.
"In terms of what everyone I grew up with and people in the past are thinking, I have no idea," said Hamilton.
"I do remember very, very clearly those who threw abuse at me. Horrible words. I remember teachers who tried to stop me and get in the way. But I don’t feel any negativity towards them.
"I don’t know if today it bugs them that I am successful, or maybe they’ve grown. I’m sure they have because that’s how we are in life. I’m sure they’ve grown from their past experiences and hopefully, they’re better people.
"I hope they’re proud that they knew me, or could say they were part of it if they want to.
"For the drivers that didn’t make it, I hope they are successful in their own way and have great families and hopefully they can live vicariously through me because at the end of the day, we had the same thing in common - we all loved racing and we all shared that passion."
In the build-up to Sunday's Eifel Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, Hamilton had dismissed all talk of equalling Schumacher's record, that he had given it no thought.
It was clear, though, that after taking the chequered flag the reality was different and instead he had simply deflected the questions at the time they were asked to typically remain focused on the job at hand.
Following his achievement, Hamilton naturally found it difficult to compute, primarily recognising the journey he had been on to reach such a milestone that few believed would ever be matched.
"There’s a lot of talk in all sports of the greatest, past and present," assessed Hamilton.
"I think it’s almost impossible to compare people. I just think it’s different times, we are evolving as human beings. If you put all the top drivers that have been the most successful in the sport in the same season and the same cars, that’d be something.
"But I think there is all this talk of who is and who is not. It’s not important to me. What’s important is the journey in this time, and while I’ve been here, I’m proud of what I’ve been able to do, what I’ve navigated through.
"[I have] Definitely made a lot of mistakes but that’s life, we all do that. I think you can definitely be remembered for having the most and that would definitely be something special to have.
"But as I said, it’s the journey that we’ve done along the way, the obstacles you’ve faced. Everyone’s got a different journey and a different way of doing things. I don’t think you should knock anybody for the way they do things."
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