In the halls of John Henry Newman College in the British city of Stevenage, life was never easy for Lewis Hamilton . "There was racism in the neighborhood where I grew up and, in a way, I was a victim of discrimination on the street and at school," recalls the man who today has shot the untouchable record of seven World Cups by Schumacher . It was not easy for him to live and survive, despite being the fastest, on those rough first asphalts of the British Kart Championship. «There were children who said things. There were always those who tried to discourage me, "he often remembers. "We had to be 100% perfect because we were the only black family," admitted a year ago in an interview with the Brazilian media UOL Esporte, as part of a serial against racism.
The murder in Minneapolis of the black citizen George Floyd and the silence of Formula 1 about it, has made Hamilton squirm: «I see those who remain silent, some of you are the biggest stars, but you remain silent in the midst of the injustice. There is no sign of anyone in my industry that of course is a white-dominated sport. I am one of the only people of color who is there, but I am alone. Corrosive words published on his Instagram profile, which are followed by more than 16 million users, direct to the heart of a "white" sport that he, the first black pilot in history, has mastered with little discussion since 2014. An arrow directed at his teammates and Liberty Media, the American company that pulls the strings of the championship, one month after everyone faces each other again in the Spielberg paddock (July 5).
Some, like Carlos Sainz , endorsed his words. «He never gave importance to the subject of his skin color. There was always naturalness on his part and by those who shared the team, "emphasize those who have lived with him. Although Hamilton, who is now championing that race in F1, has always proudly shown his origins and, above all, his future intentions. His great idol beyond sport was Nelson Mandela , whom he got to meet in person. And he has never hidden his intention that his social figure will go beyond sports and become a social symbol, as happened with Senna , Jordan or Ali . Precisely one week after the boxer's death (2016), he dedicated his victory to him in Canada. "Fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee," he screamed over the radio as he crossed the finish line.
McLaren's dismissal eight years ago was a release for him. "He felt cornered there, now he is free," his former teammate De la Rosa reminded this newspaper, after Hamilton reached his third championship, the second with Mercedes. His aesthetic metamorphosis is even above the sports one, where his repertoire on the track is much more unpredictable than that of that fiery boy who burst in in 2007, sponsored by Ron Dennis , along with Alonso . From a torso turned into a tattoo mural to a head decked out in dreadlocks, braids, or whatever comes to mind.
Today, apart from being the best paid on the grid, with a salary close to 50 million euros, he is the champion of a good handful of causes. Not so long ago, he threatened to leave F1 to combat pollution on the planet. He also raised his voice in favor of veganism, with which he has sculpted his silhouette to the extreme. And now, that cry to the world for George Floyd, who has shaken some foundation in his industry.
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