Hamilton motivated by 'scars' of racist abuse

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton has been partly driven to the stunning success in his career by the “scars” of racist abuse suffered in his junior racing career.

Hamilton is the only driver of black heritage in the history of F1 and any barriers have been further broken down by his spectacular run of success in the sport.

However, Hamilton has often spoken of his desire to lead greater diversity in Formula 1, suggesting it would be as great a legacy to leave in F1 as all of his racing achievements.

His boss Wolff says much of Hamilton’s desire has been fuelled by abuse suffered in his youth.

Wolff said: “When Lewis was younger he was the only black kid among the white kids, and I know he was racially abused on the track.

“If that happens to an eight-year-old, or a 10-year-old, it just leaves scars that will not go away. If, as a child, you have had to overcome abuse and discrimination, on one side it makes you a stronger personality. But on the other side it also leaves scars.

“Today, Lewis has a good and mature perspective, but the scars are certainly there. That is not the only motivating factor for him – those scars are a witness of having survived.

“We have to acknowledge that we are not very diverse in Formula 1, and I have certainly learned through Lewis to accept that it is difficult to overcome discrimination from time to time.”