Lewis Hamilton details racist abuse as he accepts GQ game changer award

Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter
·2-min read

Lewis Hamilton recalled the racial abuse he suffered as a young driver as he was honoured with the game changer prize at the GQ Men Of The Year Awards.

The racing driver, who won a record-equalling seventh Formula One world championship earlier this month, appeared during the online ceremony in a pre-recorded segment.

The Stevenage-born star, 35, described his early years in karting and spoke of how he had been affected by the death of George Floyd in the US.

(Misan Harriman/GQ/PA)
(Misan Harriman/GQ/PA)

He said: “At the end of the day, every single one of us, we bleed the same colour blood.

“It started when I was five, my first experience of racism, and it continued through school, walking through parks and being jumped, having things thrown at you, and then later through karting, constantly racial slurs.

“Once I even turned professional, I received racial abuse and no-one said anything. My dad would always just say, ‘Do your talking on the track’.

“For me, it was watching George being held down for those eight minutes and 30 seconds.

“It brought up a lot of emotions that I hadn’t even realised I had suppressed. Enough is enough. Now is not the time to be silent.”

Hamilton, who has shown his support for the Black Lives Matter movement throughout the 2020 F1 season, also looked back at his first race of the calendar where he took the knee.

“I remember feeling heat because I knew it was going to spark some sort of reaction,” he said.

“People still to this day don’t fully understand what that gesture means. This is not a political statement. This is a human rights issue.

“It’s not just about doing the symbolism thing, like taking the knee or changing the car to black,” he added, referring to his F1 team Mercedes’ decision to use a black racing livery this year.

“It’s then what can we do to really make change.”

Star Wars actor John Boyega, actress Michaela Coel and England footballer Marcus Rashford were also among the stars honoured at the awards.