Driving (and Winning) While Black

Photo To the victor …


Where have we been? Where were we while Lewis Hamilton was quietly becoming the hottest new star in auto racing? On Sunday, the 22-year-old Brit of Grenadian descent, the first black driver in Formula One history, became the first black winner in Formula One history by capturing the Canadian Grand Prix. The victory capped what has already been a remarkable season for the affable young man, who drives for McLaren Mercedes. He’s raced six times so far this season and reached the podium each time. He is currently F1’s overall points leader. NASCAR who?

Hamilton’s parents emigrated from Grenada but separated when he was two. He was raised by his father and a stepmother. He apparently took to cart racing early – ads do most great drivers – but the passion was a financial hardship on his family. Undoubtedly he is appreciating his success. For another reason as well: His younger brother, Nicholas, suffers from cerebral palsy.

A friend just asked me an interesting question: If Hamilton had been American do you think he would have been able to get sponsorship – let alone Mercedes? Puulllleeez!

Lewis Hamiliton, French GP 2006



4 thoughts on “Driving (and Winning) While Black

  1. Derek Wright says:

    I heard the brother’s name but didn’t find out more about him. Good information. Great post.

  2. Just wrote an article about him for my job at Iconoculture.

  3. james hash says:

    I have already quizzed my two sons about Lewis Hamilton’s victory. They were surprised to find out that he was black. Hopefully, we will see more Black men and women winning in other areas such as Business, Education, Science, Politics, Family and other top professional fields.

    Great Article,

  4. Lohan says:

    It’s not the fact that it is a black man doing so well in a white dominated world. it is the humility, focus, lack of bull and bravado that distinguishes him from ALL his peers.
    A fantastic role model for children – none of the ‘bling’ about him. Just simply the real thing – unadalterated talent.
    Moreover, it’s better still as Formula 1 is far more cerebral than Soccer, Basketball, Baseball, Football, or athletics – areas where black people tend to excel normally.
    This young lad is special, just like the Tiger Woods, because he shifts stereotypes, and gives a new role model.

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