F1 Star Lewis Hamilton Recalls Pain of Being Called the N-Word During His Childhood: 'Traumatizing'

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton

Cristiano Barni ATPImages/Getty

Lewis Hamilton is looking back at one of the most "traumatizing" periods of his life.

During a recent episode of On Purpose with Jay Shetty, the 38-year-old Formula 1 star opened up about his childhood and his memories of being bullied as one of the few Black students at his school.

"I think for me, school was the most, probably the most traumatizing and most difficult part of my life," Hamilton, a 7-time F1 champion, told Shetty. "I was already being bullied at the age of six."

"The constant jabs, things that are either thrown at you like bananas or people that would use the N-word just so relaxed," he said. "People calling you half cast and, you know, just really not knowing where you fit in. That, for me, was difficult. When you then go into like history class and everything you learn in history, there are no pictures of people of color in the history that they were teaching us."

Hamilton is considered one of the best (if not the best) F1 drivers of all time and is currently tied with former driver Michael Schumacher for the most F1 titles.

RELATED: Lewis Hamilton Calls for 'Action' and Condemns Former Champ Nelson Piquet for Using Racial Slur Towards Him

The Englishman is the only Black driver in F1 and the first in the organization's decades-old history.

While speaking to Shetty, Hamilton said he recognized early on that he was often singled out because of his skin color. He also revealed he is dyslexic.

"I was thinking, oh, well, where are the people that look like me?" the Mercedes-Petronas driver said. "And I mean, for me, in my school, there was only around, I think there was around seven, maybe six, seven black kids out of 1,200 kids, and three of us were put outside the headmaster's office all the time."

RELATED: F1 Driver Lewis Hamilton Says He Will Add His Mother's Maiden Name to His to Honor Her

"The headmaster just had it out for us, and particularly for me, I would say, so like just juggling all these different emotions that you're feeling," he explained. "Plus, I struggled at school. I didn't find out till I was 16 that I was dyslexic. Fortunately, I came across a teacher that was actually caring and, took me down that road and helped me discover a little bit more about myself and how I can better myself through education."

RELATED VIDEO: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Talks the 'Beautiful Moment' When NASCAR Rallied Around Bubba Wallace

Dyslexia is a disorder that involves difficulty reading and is caused by problems identifying speech sounds and understanding how they connect to letters and words, per Mayo Clinic.

Hamilton said, ultimately, racing allowed him to "channel" the frustrations he felt in other parts of his life.

"I really felt that the system was really up against me, and I was kind of swimming against the tide," he recalled. "But I'm so grateful for that journey, 'cause that's what built me [into] the person that I am today."

"I didn't want my dad to think I was not strong," Hamilton said of suppressing his emotions at the time. "And so, I would, you know, if I had tears, I would hold them back. If I had emotions, it would be in a quiet place. And it wasn't really till I started racing that I was able to channel this emotion that I had into my driving."

Hamilton will be driving for Mercedes once again when the F1 season kickoff on March 5 in Bahrain.