Lewis Hamilton opens up on ‘lonely journey’ during 29-year racing career

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Lewis Hamilton has claimed his racing career has been a ‘lonely journey’ despite winning seven F1 world titles since his debut in 2007. The Briton said he was generally the ‘only person of colour’ as the Mercedes star pushes for social change within motorsport.

He has vowed to tackle ‘systemic issues’ within education and backed new projects to create more representation within the sport. Speaking to Good Morning America, he said: “It’s generally been quite a lonely journey – me and my family have been the only black family. I’ve been racing for 29 years, I’m 37 now but I’ve been professional for 16 years.

“But, always most often I’ve been the only person of colour in the room and when I would ask the question there was no real great feedback so I put together the Hamilton Commission. It starts with education and understanding. We put together this body of work and research to try and understand what these barriers are.

“We found that not only in our industry we have over 40,000 jobs but only one percent come from black backgrounds, but there are real systemic issues within the educational system as well.

“With the Hamilton Commission we’ve now started the Mission 44 which I’ve funded myself to try and create more representation and support and an empowerment for these young underserved groups.”

The Hamilton Commission has called for F1 teams to expand apprenticeship schemes as an alternative pathway into motorsport. The group has also called for the creation of targeted support programmes for ethnic minority students.

Scholarship schemes should also be created to enable more black graduates with degrees in engineering to enter motorsport. Writing in the report, Hamilton added: “We know there is so much that needs to change when it comes to racial equality, but it’s impossible to tackle everything at once.

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“Instead, we carefully chose these recommendations to ensure we have a focussed approach and, more importantly, recommendations that I can take responsibility for taking forward. We have always been set on being a ‘Commission of Action’, not just ideas, and so alongside my foundation and my joint initiative with Mercedes, we have also received support from a range of organisations to follow through on the recommendations, turning them into action.

“The recommendations will vary in timescale but it’s exciting that we can commit to tangible progress.” Hamilton has struggled for pace with his new Mercedes this season with the Briton lying seventh in the drivers’ standings.

The Mercedes man finished 13th in Imola and could only pick up 10th in Saudi Arabia.

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