They say that good things come in small packages. How about Lewis Hamilton? Weighing in at 160 lbs. (73 kg) at 5’8” high (1.74 m) he is the right size to fit into a McLaren or Mercedes F1 race car.
Even the Queen of England agrees, so much so, that she knighted him as part of her New Year’s honors list.
When Lewis was only 10 years old and had been karting for 2 years, he approached McLaren F1 team boss, Ron Dennis, for an autograph: “Hi, I’m Lewis Hamilton. I won the British (Karting) Championship and one day I want to be racing your cars.” Dennis responded: “Phone me in 9 years, we’ll sort something out then”. The rest is history. In 2020 Lewis Hamilton shared a joint-record 7 World Drivers’ Championship titles with Michael Schumacher. I’m pretty sure I was mindlessly playing hopscotch at age 10.
Lewis was born to a white mother (Carmen Larbalestier) and a black father of Grenadian heritage (Anthony Hamilton). His dad guided him from go-karts to F1 until 2010. I never got past go-karts myself.
As the first F1 driver who identifies as black, Hamilton had some unique challenges
“I’d trade my 7th World Championship for greater diversity in F1.”
- Lewis Hamilton
He was a victim of racism and bullying, he took up karate at age 5 to defend himself. He has been a strong supporter of Black Lives Matter. In June 2020, he announced a partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering to identify the key barriers to the recruitment and progression of black people in UK motorsport. In 2020, his Mercedes F1 team changed its livery to black as part of a public pledge to improve diversity.
One of Lewis’ favorite films is Cool Runnings. Why? Because it depicts an unexpected Jamaican bobsleigh team much in the way Lewis and his father were initially seen by the motor racing community.
“We’re different. People are always afraid of what’s different.”
– Yul Brenner in Cool Runnings
Lewis lives a vegan lifestyle and credits many positive outcomes to his diet: a sharper mind, elimination of mood swings, increased energy. Check out his cameo in this Game Changers movie about plant based athletes:
Lewis has had a successful fashion partnership with Tommy Hilfiger (branded TommyxLewis) and also enlisted help from Grammy-nominated singer H.E.R. to push the envelope on sustainability. Organic, vegan and recycled fabrics all feature strongly in their less wasteful unisex clothing line.
“Lewis and I had conversations about what we represent and how to put that into the clothes in a deeper way.”
Hamilton has also used his platform to help his paternal half-brother, Nic. Nic has spastic diplegia, a common form of cerebral palsy, likely due to his premature birth. Lewis also has two maternal half-sisters, Nicola and Samantha Lockhart, and he is a proud uncle. Lewis’ father was his manager until 2010, guess he was tired of having to listen to his father at 25. Hamilton reportedly made $47 Million this past year, pretty fair to say firing dad didn’t hurt his business.
As is often the case with celebrities, off-track Hamilton has been linked to many beautiful women, although not all of them have been confirmed: Pussycat Doll’s Nicole Scherzinger, Rihanna, Rita Ora, Sophia Richie and Nicki Minaj, to name a few. Hamilton professes to be a workaholic, which limits his love life. Once he’s stopped racing, he says he wants to have kids, and to be a good and present father. For now, I think he is satisfied by being named British GQ’s Game Changer of the Year.
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