British Formula 1 race driver Lewis Hamilton has recalled being racially abused at the Spanish Grand Prix in 2008. Hamilton, while speaking to Wall Street Journal, said he still remembers the pain he felt after being racially abused at the circuit in Spain. The seven-time world champion, who is a vocal supporter of inclusive and diverse motorsport, said he saw a group of spectators wearing blackface with t-shirts that read, "Hamilton's family". Hamilton was only 23 at the time and had just made his debut a year earlier as the first Black driver in Formula One's history.
It's been 13 years since the incident took place at the Spanish Grand Prix but according to Hamilton, it is still a painful memory for him. "I remember the pain that I felt that day. I didn't say anything about it, I didn't have anyone. No-one said anything, I saw people continuing in my industry and staying quiet," Hamilton said in his interview with the Wall Street Journal.
Hamilton was also booed by a group of Spanish fans when he appeared at Barcelona's winter testing session in 2008. Instances like these are one of the key factors pushing Hamilton to wear anti-racism t-shirts like 'Arrest the Cops who killed Breonna Taylor'. After Hamilton wore the t-shirt at the Tuscan Grand Prix in 2020, he faced a lot of backlash with people criticising him for breaking the FIA rule that bars teams from using "political or religious" advertising. However, Hamilton received support from Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, who said that although the decision was entirely his, they will support him in whatever he does.
As far as Hamilton is concerned, the 36-year-old recently lost to Max Verstappen at the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. It was nervy and came down to just 1.3 seconds as the Red Bull driver crossed the finish line to win his very first US Grand Prix. Hamilton will next be seen in action at the Mexico City Grand Prix, the qualifying round of which is scheduled to take place on November 7.