Lewis Hamilton has achieved worldwide fame as the first and only Black Formula One race car driver. The British driver has more wins on the F1 circuit than anyone else from his country, and is poised to dominate for years to come.
Born Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton on January 7, 1985, the future speedster was born in the town of Stevenage located in the county of Hertfordshire, England. Hamilton, who is of mixed parentage, was named after American track star Carl Lewis by his Black Grenadian father.
Hamilton’s interest in racing was piqued when he was a boy after his father introduced him to competitive remote control car racing. With a natural knack for speed and winning, Hamilton began racing in a youth go-kart league. When he was just 10-years-old, he approached McLaren F1 chief Ron Harris after winning a karting championship and told him that he’d like to race for him one day.
Harris was impressed by the bold young driver, and made good on the promise of signing him. Hamilton was the youngest driver to sign to F1. Despite the fanfare around Hamilton and his obvious talent on the track, racism impacted him the very year he exploded onto the national scene. In 2008 while racing in Spain, Hamilton was faced with racist taunting and spectators in blackface uttering slurs. Part of this was due to a heated rivalry with Spanish driver Fernando Alonso, who blasted the racist fans.
The first of Hamilton’s three Formula One World Championship wins was in 2008, and he followed up with back-to-back wins in 2014 and 2015.