F1 legend Lewis Hamilton was recently knighted by Charles, Prince of Whales, for his exceptional achievements in motorsports. The Mercedes driver holds the record for winning most Grand Prix and joint-most world championships. However, he recalls an incident when his career nearly ended before it had even begun.
His Karting career began in 1993 and he won 6 different championships between 1995 and 2000. However, an appalling incident in 2001 left him hopeless about his future in racing.
#OnThisDay 20 years ago Lewis Hamilton (pic), 16, entered a Super-A Karting World Championship race at Kerpen, owned by Michael Schumacher, 32, who also raced in it & said afterwards: “He’s a quality driver; if he keeps this up he’ll reach #F1; he has the right racing mentality.” pic.twitter.com/j5ypeTeTmG
— Matt Bishop 🏳️🌈 (@TheBishF1) October 27, 2021
Lewis Hamilton thought his racing career was over
Hamilton was months away from taking up his GCSEs when the incident happened. Notably, his tremendous success at the junior level earned him the backing of F1 giant Mclaren at the time. However, the racing journey wasn’t a piece of cake for the young Briton. A horrific incident took place in the catholic school which left a 15-year-old pupil suffering two fractured fingers, bruising, and an injured arm.
“As a teenager, sadly my enthusiasm was not shared by all and my career nearly ended before it had started because of a case of mistaken identity by my school,”said the Briton.
Initially, six boys were recognized and expelled for the incident, Lewis wasn’t one of them. However, days later, he got pulled out of the class and expelled from the school. Hamilton insisted he was innocent and was being framed wrongly.
“This was not true, I, like many others, had been hanging around waiting for the next lesson to start and had entered the toilets around the time the attack was taking place,” said Hamilton in his autobiography.
“I was not involved in the attack but knew the boys taking place,” he added.
Anthony Hamilton backed him
Lewis recently fell victim to an unlucky last lap debacle in Abu Dhabi and the first person to console him was his father Anthony. Lewis Hamilton credits his success to the efforts and backing of his father through thick and thin. Like always, his father stood behind him during that school incident as well. When his headteacher told him that they expelled him, he froze at the moment.
“I couldn’t answer, I was 15-year-old just trying to be polite. I guess, again I thought my life was over.”
He wrote letters to the local education authority, their MP, and even the Prime Minister. The local education authority considered the matter and had a hearing for the same. They found it to be a case of false expulsion and reinstated the young Brit. However, Hamilton says that he didn’t go back to that school as the system terribly failed him.
Anthony Hamilton worked multiple jobs, emptied his savings and took out a second mortgage to help his son chase his dream of being an F1 driver.
He was there for Lewis after Sunday’s race to remind him how far they’ve come! #TeamLH #LewisHamilton#IStandWithLewisHamilton pic.twitter.com/CgmfUNbWli
— Lewis Fan Page 44 (@LewisFanPage_44) December 18, 2021
He made his F1 debut six years later in 2007 for the Surrey-based outfit. He won the first F1 title in the 2008 F1 season and six more followed. The young kid once bullied in school later became one of the greatest F1 drivers ever.