Lewis Hamilton has vowed to keep fighting against racial injustice as he was named the most influential black person in Britain. He has since opened up about how people told him as a child that he “would not make it” and was even told to “go back to your country”. The newly crowned seven-time Formula One world champion has recently topped the Powerlist 2021, the annual list of the most powerful people of African, African Caribbean and African American heritage in the UK.
Speaking to BBC News, Hamilton said: “There are these races where there’s got to be a moment of doubt.
“For the kids out there who dream the impossible, do not give up on that dream because I am living proof that you can manifest your dreams and even the impossible ones.
“I remember as a kid adults, teachers, parents of other drivers telling me that I would not make it.”
He explained they had said to him: “You’re not going to make it, go back to your country.”
Mr Hamilton continued: “All these horrible things and I remember thinking I’m going to prove you wrong.
“The message is for all the kids out there who feel they don’t have a voice and might be dreaming of something or want to dream big.”
Mr Hamilton was recognised for his achievements both on and off the track, having spent 2020 not only adding another world title to his collection but by speaking powerfully in support of racial justice.
Those on the list were celebrated at the Black Excellence Awards 2020, hosted by playwright and Young Vic Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah.
Accepting the honour, Hamilton said he was “humbled”.
“But as a community we have responded in a way that has been incredibly inspiring. In my life I have never seen so many people stand up and take a stand against injustice.
“And it is the power of our community, holding mass protests and making their voices heard that sparked this global movement.
“To be nominated as your number one most influential person in a year like this is not something I take lightly.”
He added: “I promise you I will keep fighting alongside you until our voices are heard and until we live in a world that treats everyone equally, no matter their background or the colour of their skin.”