The Formula 1 season started this weekend which gives me the perfect opportunity to talk about one of my favourite topics — Lewis Hamilton. Unless you are a Formula 1 fan or a frequent purchaser of Tommy Hilfiger clothing, I doubt you know that much about Lewis Hamilton and what he has achieved or what he is close to achieving.
For those of you that do not know Lewis Hamilton, he is a British Formula 1 driver born in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. He started karting at 8 years old and later joined Mclaren’s driver development programme. In 2008, he won his first world championship. Twelve years later, he has added five more world championships driving for Mercedes, making a total of six world championships with a chance this season to tie the all time record of seven.
So with six world championships, the most of his era, why do we overlook Hamilton when we talk about all time great athletes? We talk about Serena Williams, Lebron James, Messi, Ronaldo and rightly so because they are all brilliant. We even talk more about Andy Murray more than we do about Lewis Hamilton. You could make the argument that Lewis Hamilton has been as dominant as most athletes in his era. Lewis Hamilton to me is doing exactly what Tiger Woods has done for golf. That is being a black man that not only dominates a white sport but becomes the face of that sport and brings it to the masses.
When you think of what Hamilton has achieved and what he has had to go through, you cannot help but be impressed especially with what he has to overcome on a daily basis. He has had to constantly battle racism from people within the motorsport community since he was eight, face questions about whether he is British enough from the British tabloids because like most Formula 1 drivers he lives in Monaco and face false stories about his contract and his lifestyle. He has also had to deal with other drivers questioning his salary, endure some Formula 1 fans booing him every time he wins, labelled arrogant since his first season in the sport and other drivers downplaying his dominance as simply down to his car, which they do not seem to do for other drivers that have won. Yet he does not say anything back to anyone.