Lewis Hamilton has expressed hope that “2020 may just be the most important year of our lives” in the global fight against racism.
The six-time F1 title winner has long championed diversity and equality and has posted passionately on social media this week in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and peaceful protests, after the death of George Floyd in the United States.
In his latest post on Instagram, Hamilton wrote: “We must unite! I have wondered why 2020 seemed so doomed from the start but I’m starting to believe that 2020 may just be the most important year of our lives, where we can finally start to change the systemic and social oppression of minorities.
“We just want to live, have the same chances at education, at life and not have to fear walking down the street, or going to school, or walking into a store whatever it may be.
“We deserve this as much as anyone. Equality is paramount to our future, we cannot stop fighting this fight, I for one, will never give up!”
Hamilton also reflected on the racist abuse he suffered as a young karter and how the events of recent days had “brought back so many painful memories from my childhood”.
The Mercedes driver, who is on course to become the most successful F1 driver of all time in forthcoming seasons, said he is “still fighting” and drives with that determination.
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Hamilton wrote: “Vivid memories of the challenges I faced when I was a kid, as I’m sure many of you who have experienced racism or some sort of discrimination have faced.
“I have spoken so little about my personal experiences because I was taught to keep it in, don’t show weakness, kill them with love and beat them on the track.
“But when it was away from the track, I was bullied, beaten and the only way I could fight this was to learn to defend myself, so I went to karate. The negative psychological effects cannot be measured.
“This is why I drive the way I do, it is far deeper than just doing a sport, I’m still fighting. Thank God I had my father, a strong black figure who I could look up to, that I knew understood and would stand by my side no matter what. Not all of us have that but we need to stand together with those who may not have that hero to lean on and protect them.”