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Lewis Hamilton reveals 2019 photo that left him ‘frustrated’ by Formula 1’s diversity issue

Lewis Hamilton admits that he is constantly concerned – and saddened – by the continuing lack of diversity in Formula One.

Since first hitting the track in 2007 in a McLaren cockpit at age 22, and switching to Mercedes in 2013, Hamilton has won more races and poles than any driver in history, winning seven championships. world records, a joint record with Michael Schumacher.

But the 36-year-old has now opened up to his own painful experiences with racism in the sport and how diversity remains an issue as he remains the only black driver.

In an interview with WSJ Magazine, Hamilton recalled that in 2008 Spanish Formula One fans presented themselves with black faces while wearing jerseys that read ‘The Hamilton Family’, before attempting to claim that the offensive black jerseys were somehow not racist.

“I remember the pain I felt that day, but I didn’t say anything about it; I had no one, ” he said. Nobody said anything.

“I saw people who continued in my industry and kept quiet.”

As he started out, Hamilton, along with his father, believed that he could follow in the footsteps of Tiger Woods and the Williams sisters and advance the industry.

But he was left “ frustrated and sad ” when he realized that nothing had changed at the end of the 2019 season.

Spanish Formula 1 fans attended an event wearing black jerseys and 'The Hamilton Family'

Spanish Formula 1 fans attended an event wearing black jerseys and ‘The Hamilton Family’

The 2019 photo of Hamilton's team highlighted that he was the only black member

The 2019 photo of Hamilton's team highlighted that he was the only black member

The 2019 photo of Hamilton’s team highlighted that he was the only black member

The Brit equaled Michael Schumacher's record of seven world titles in 2020

The Brit equaled Michael Schumacher's record of seven world titles in 2020

The Brit equaled Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world titles in 2020

Looking at a photo of him and his team celebrating their sixth title in a row, he realized that despite all those seasons he spent as a pioneer, he was still the only black person.

“ I expanded them from the F1 Instagram, ” he said. ‘I’ve been here 15 years, 14 years, how has it not changed? I was really sad about it. I was frustrated and sad. ”

Hamilton has gone from prodigy to statesman in the sport, equaling the all-time record of the great Michael Schumacher, and in that time 56 drivers have made their F1 debuts, not a single one of them black.

The seven-time world champion remains the only black driver in the sport and he couldn’t help but ask why.

The British driver was also the only black person in a similar photo of Mercedes taken in 2016.

The British driver was also the only black person in a similar photo of Mercedes taken in 2016.

The British driver was also the only black person in a similar photo of Mercedes taken in 2016.

Lewis Hamilton spoke about the lack of diversity in Formula One in WSJ Magazine

Lewis Hamilton spoke about the lack of diversity in Formula One in WSJ Magazine

Lewis Hamilton spoke about the lack of diversity in Formula One in WSJ Magazine

Hamilton holds the record for most wins and poles, but he's still the only black F1 driver

Hamilton holds the record for most wins and poles, but he's still the only black F1 driver

Hamilton holds the record for most wins and poles, but he’s still the only black F1 driver

‘I `m 36 years old; I’ve been wondering why me ‘, Said.

‘Why am I the only black driver who has made it to Formula One, and not only that, I am in the front? There has to be a more important reason for me to be here. ‘

Hamilton partnered with the Royal Academy of Engineering, which released a report in July that revealed that less than 1 percent of the people who work in Formula One are black.

But Mercedes team principal and CEO Toto Wolf insisted there would be a drive for diversity in F1 without Hamilton, claiming that success makes it irrelevant.

“Initiatives may have been taken, but certainly not to the extent that Lewis caused,” he said.

‘We must stop putting people in boxes. Everybody works differently, ” Wolf said.

‘If you are so successful, who can blame you? Seven times world champion, you have the records for the most victories and pole positions, you can present yourself in a pink suede tracksuit … If you are not winning, people will see you as a fool. ‘

Hamilton disagreed, saying: “I’m pretty sure nothing would have changed.”

The Brit wore a T-shirt that read 'Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor' at the Tuscany GP

The Brit wore a T-shirt that read 'Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor' at the Tuscany GP

The Brit wore a T-shirt that read ‘Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor’ at the Tuscany GP

She performed amid the Black Lives Matter movement when she wore a T-shirt that read ‘arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor’ at the 2020 Tuscany Grand Prix.

This summer he founded Mission 44, a foundation to support children from under-represented groups, with a personal donation of £ 20 million, not only in F1 racing but also in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

He also pushed for his latest contract, signed during the 2021 season, to include stipulations to increase diversity within the team.

The Formula 1 superstar covers WSJ. The highly anticipated November issue of Innovator’s Magazine, which will be available on newsstands on Saturday, November 13.

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