Lewis Hamilton has been very vocal about the challenges he has faced throughout his racing career. Those challenges, combined with his upbringing, have shaped him into the driver he is today. He also sees a big contrast between himself and title rival Max Verstappen.
Hamilton came up against Verstappen several times during the 2021 Formula One season, but over his entire career the Briton has built a reputation as a sometimes tough but fair driver. “That’s just how my dad raised me,” he says in an interview with BBC. “He said to always do your talking on the track.”
“I was bullied as a kid, both at school but also on track, and we wanted to beat them the right way, not by a car falling off or colliding with a car,” he continued. “Then there is no denying that you’re better. If you have collisions, they can say, ‘Oh, yeah, but this happened, this is one tactic that that driver has’.”
Hamilton doesn’t want his success to be denied
Hamilton doesn’t want to be known for pushing his opponents off the track, as he fears people would then deny his success. “I want to be the purest of drivers, through speed, through sheer hard work and determination, so there’s no denying at the end what I’ve accomplished,” he says firmly.
He says he has thought about why Verstappen ‘races the way he races’. “He’s not the only driver I’ve raced against that’s like this. I’ve raced so many drivers in my time and they’ve all been very different in the way they behave,” said the Mercedes driver, who suspects it is largely down to the upbringing enjoyed how a driver acts.