LEWIS HAMILTON has revealed he has broken down in tears during his fight against racism in Formula 1.
The seven-time world champion has been at the centre of the #WeRaceAsOne message the sport have promoted since the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.
But it has been an incredibly challenging role for Hamilton, who admits one of the most difficult moments came when F1 – who control the broadcasting of their events – cut away from some of the drivers taking the knee at the Styrian Grand Prix to show Red Bull skydivers.
Speaking to The Guardian, he said: “This wrath of emotions came up and I couldn’t contain myself. I was in tears.
“And this stuff came up that I’d suppressed over all these years. And it was so powerful and sad and also releasing.
“And I thought, ‘I can’t stay quiet. I need to speak out because there are people experiencing what I’m experiencing, or 10 times worse. Or 100 times worse. And they need me right now.’
“And so when I did speak out, that was me letting the Black community know: ‘I hear you and I stand with you.’”
He then went on to add: “I don’t see it as a burden. It was definitely liberating to be able to be open and speak about things.
“For people to know that there’s much more to me than perhaps they realised from watching me on TV.
“I feel like I was built for this. There’s a reason it was suppressed over all that time.
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“And if it happened any sooner I wouldn’t be ready, wouldn’t be strong enough to handle it. I wouldn’t be able to do my job as well and do both things at the same time.
“But now I’m equipped with the tools to do so. I look at my niece and nephew. I look at my little cousins and I think ‘How can I make things better for you guys and your friends?’”
Hamilton’s inspirational determination to stand up for what he believes in also led to Mercedes changing the colour of their cars for the 2020 season to black.
They have carried this design on into the 2021 season.
Meanwhile, Hamilton is currently bidding to eclipse Michael Schumacher by winning a record eighth Formula 1 world title.
However, the Brit has his work cut out as he trails rival Max Verstappen by 32 points after nine of 23 races.
Next up for the drivers is Hamilton’s home circuit of Silverstone on July 18.