Lewis Hamilton: The Enigma of Hate & Racism.
Over the last 10 years we have seen the rise of a Young Black Formula One driver, who has taken the sport by storm.! His name is Lewis Hamilton.. In all my years of watching F1, from the likes of Senna, Prost, Schumacher and Nigel Mansell! When Lewis Hamilton came onto the scene, I was happy and elated to see someone who looked like me in the sport that I loved! I never saw a Black man in Formula One up until then. I had heard of Willy T. Ribbs Jr testing in F1 in 1987 and then competing in the IMSA GT Championship and winning four races. That’s was amazing in itself, but to have someone like Lewis who was born and bred in Stevenage, UK. Well as I said, I was so happy! I decided like any other Brit at time to support him and wish him well! I even remembered seeing him on Blue Peter being interviewed and watching this little boy say that one day he hoped to be a World Formula One Champion! So I had enough information in regards to Lewis, his father and his disabled brother from way back when..! So when he made his first appearance on the grid at the 2007 Australian Grand Prix. Like any other fan I was excited to see just how he would get on, especially in his rookie year and having another genius driver like Fernando Alonso as his McLaren Team mate. To say the least he has done very well! There have been ups and downs! But he has now gone on to break record after record! He is a Four time F1 WDC and has the record for most poles of any driver! But during his time in formula one, Lewis has changed as one does as they get older! At the beginning he was like a controlled puppet at the hands of McLaren and the irrepressible Ron Dennis. To me sometimes, Lewis just looked like he was doing just as he was told to do. His father was his manager and then suddenly fired his own dad and then all of a sudden we would see a different Lewis. Changes were afoot in his mind, he wanted control of his own destiny and only he knew what that was, it seemed! He kept his family close but concentrated on the driving best he could, even when McLaren couldn’t provide a decent car, he still won races in every year, a record no current driver has done. Lewis Hamilton had to make a change somewhat if he wanted to be a true legend of the sport! That came about when Ross Brawn sat him down in a kitchen and told him about AMG Mercedes/Brawn and taking a chance on a project that was at the time, just that. With Michael Schumacher coming to the end of his Career, Lewis replaced him and rekindled his relationship with his childhood friend Nico Rosberg. They both battled together at an early age and knew each other very well. It seemed a good mix and by joining the Silver Arrows team Lewis looked settled! I remember reading and watching people in the sport like Martin Brundle and even Lewis’s ex McLaren team mate and former world champion Jenson Button saying, that Lewis was making a mistake and a massive risk by joining Mercs. In fact everyone had their say, from the fans to all the people in the sport! Most were negative, some positive! Now that is important to remember as this article goes on. The FIA changed F1 and the Hybrid era began! Every constructor involved in F1 knew about the changes and did their very best to develop a car good enough to win races. But it seemed that Amg Mercedes would be the stand out performer. With Lewis and Nico getting pole after Pole and winning race after race. The F1 community didn’t like this as it always does when one team dominates! Ferrari and RedBull all had their time dominating. And I guess it was all good! But the one thing that wasn’t prominent in all of what I have written so far is the advent of social media. Now I will add what I have seen, read and heard in regards to how Lewis Hamilton is perceived online and well in life in general! Lewis has lots of fans from all around the world who love F1. But he also has to be the most hated of all the drivers in the history of the sport. Personally I don’t think it was always like that, but as the years has gone on and with the ups and downs in F1, all the drivers will come across the odd hate, but no one gets it as much as Lewis Hamilton! Just this last week alone on Facebook, I came across 5-10 pages all stating just how much they Hate Lewis Hamilton. In life you will get people who like you or not I understand that. What I don’t understand is the pure hate that these people have for a person, 1, they don’t even know, 2, let alone have never met and 3, well don’t understand simply because they don’t have anything in common with! Hate is a strong word, and on social media you see it ever day, and every minute on most posts. I am also a football fan and I have read some serious hate for teams, but not the same for the players. Some players get it daily too, take Raheem Sterling for one, since he left Liverpool and went to Manchester City, everytime I see a post from him on his feeds, I always see fans calling him names like snake and so on. But not as bad as to what Lewis gets. I read posts from all kinds of sports. From tennis to rugby to snooker. But I have never in all my years seen the amount of hate that Lewis Hamilton gets from people online. The hate is difficult to understand and truly sad but, being the person I am, I like to question as to why they hate him so! I have seen and read so many reasons and excuses as to why they hate him! His fans do their best to stand by him and even they get called names like Fanboys or whatever. They purposely refuse to even call him by his name. They call him Shamilton, Lulu, Lewser and all sorts! Reading the comments daily online is hard to take as a black man supporting the only black man in a white oriented rich mans sport! Which it is, but then I look at the other drivers in the sport and they don’t get this kind of hate! During the Nico and Lewis Year’s of fighting for wins and championships, both drivers had fans hating on them. And it was all very toxic even towards the end when Nico finally beat Lewis to his first World Title. Sebastian Vettel had the same during his winning time at RedBull, but not as bad as what LH gets. Take someone like Kimi Räikkönen, now this guy is known as the Ice man, you don’t get no emotion from Him, but the fans love him! I wonder why? Daniel Riccardo the same, he is forever smiling and comes across happy all the time! The fans love him, I Could go, but the difference between the drivers I have mentioned, is the hate that they don’t get compared to the hate that Lewis receives daily on every F1 forum and social media platforms. After some research, I tried looking for anti Seb, Dani Ric, Kimi and even Max Verstappen pages, but there was nothing substantial I found online in any way that was negative and abusive like the pages I have found when it came to Lewis. You can go look for yourself if you don’t believe me! So these pages which just have pure Hate comments like racial/gender and aggressive ideology and all directed towards Lewis. The one thing I have noticed when reading the comments and the people commenting wasn’t a surprising to me! You have the few Asians hating him from Indians to Chinese but 98% of the hate comes from White people. Australia/USA/Europe and sadly United Kingdom. I would click on their profiles and view their friends section and nearly all the time they don’t have any black friends listed, they are so proud that they hate him as well and are very quick to admit it. So when I ask some of them as to why they hate him, the excuses they make and say is just so unreal that it’s not even funny! If You hate what you don’t understand, what does that actually mean? If you hate someone you don’t even know, what does that mean? If you abuse and call someone you don’t know names like Flog, Cunt, Gay Bastard, Bitch, Nigga and so on and so on, what does that mean or should I say, what does that make you? In my eyes it makes you come across as a bigot and a racist! Yes you have trolls out there, and yes they do what they do, so I guess you can call some of these people just that! But as I have to state once more, Lewis is the only black driver in the sport, so all this hate must come from somewhere right? I know right now there will be white people reading this, thinking and rolling their eyes and saying, there you go again, he is playing the race card, but only a white person would think that especially when they hear views like this from a person of colour. It’s always the first thing they say when they don’t like to hear a black person talking about race! Even recently Lewis questioned the non diversity in regards to who goes to race weekends! Now being black I know for a fact that if Formula 1 was more open to more people of colour watching it like how all my family use to watch it when I was growing up, and when it was free to watch on tv, then I believe more black people would watch it now and even go to race weekends! Sky tv is way too expensive and so is going to see a race, and a lot of people don’t even have internet in the UK let alone Sky..! So only a few are lucky enough to watch all the races. My cousin only watches it on C4 when it’s on, but has never watched it on Sky! That says it all right there..! But going back to the hate Lewis gets, I have been researching this for a while now. And I have found that a good percentage of the people who hate Lewis are racists, but they never will admit it, and why would they, as they only have hate in their hearts, so hating him no matter what he does is the norm to them, and they do it without even asking themselves as to why they hate him! As I said, the excuses they give is so funny, yes there is a lot of jealousy too, but then their Hate it runs deep so much more! From how he dresses, to his hair, to his accent, which they seem to think is fake! They don’t do this with other drivers ... just Lewis! Even when he breaks records, their excuse is, it’s the car! But then if it is the car why does he keep getting those wins and poles and his team mates don’t? Then they say silly things like, give the car to Dani Ric or Max, why? They're already at Redbull! They forget that Lewis made a big sacrifice going to Mercs in the first place and got plenty of stick and hate for doing just that! They say, he has always had a fast car! But always forget that other past world champions also had great cars. It’s like everything he did before 2007 is irrelevant and everything he’s done since is too. They hate what they don’t understand, be it his culture or the man himself, and for me that’s the racist side of them clearly being shown with those hate pages on Facebook etc. It’s like they don’t view him worthy in anyway in regards of him being talented enough to be one of the best current drivers in the sport! So they complain all the time about him and everything he says and does! Every single social media article Sky F1 posts online and if it has Lewis Hamilton's face on the poster, they automatically argue or complain that it’s not right and other drivers should be highlighted! Sky Hamilton they call it..! The funny thing is sky always highlights other drivers and other stories, but the hating public never says anything when they do, but once they see LH’s face, well the smears and the hate campaign is clear for everyone to see! Now I know sometimes even Lewis screws up from time to time! But it still doesn’t warrant the pure hate that he gets! Just think for a second, you have a young black Boy or girl who looks up to Lewis and wants a career in motorsports or even F1, and all he and she sees is the hate that Lewis gets online, and trying to understand it all! That would put something else in the mindset of that young impressionable person! It just isn’t worth it they may think and another young black person is left disillusion by society as how someone with the same skin as him or her is perceived! If you watch football in the Uk! And when any player scores a goal against another team, just watch the fans reactions in the crowd when it’s scored against them! They shout abuse and profanities and the camera always picks that up! If you watch tennis you don’t get that! Even Rugby I don’t think you see that! The point I am making is, people are so angry and if and when things don’t go their way! Well you will see their true reactions! Some sports have amazing fans who don’t hate online! Football there is a lot of hate, we all know that, Black players are still being racially abused daily in Europe and yes still right here in The Uk. Going by what I read on social media well sadly Formula one so called fans seems to be heading in that direction or if not there already. The hate for Lewis Hamilton is very real. So if that’s the case why is it not possible to believe or say that Lewis Hamilton being the only black driver in F1 with its history, would not be racially abused? To think that race doesn’t play a big part when it comes to all that hate that Lewis gets, well I don’t know what planet you are living on! As I said, Lewis has a massive fan base from around the world and a good majority of that fan base is white! But he also has a lot of people out there that really hates him for all that he is and for all what he stands for. It’s online daily for all to see..! Recently because of a tax break in regards to VAT on a Plane he purchased, Lewis was highlighted on a BBC Panorama special! This caused Lewis’s profile in the UK and the world to be shown in the wrong light and now a lot of people view him as a tax evader! Other people were mentioned during the tv show, but they didn’t get the same hate Lewis did, and still gets! Fact! Even the Channel 4 tv show ‘The Last Leg’ decided to take it upon themselves and call him out for one of the Knobs of year, the list included people like Donald Trump and so on! Lewis had just won his fourth F1 WDC and becoming the most successful British Formula one driver ever. This was totally ignored by them all, and by doing this on their show it fuelled more hate for him on social media and beyond even that. Then a comment about his nephew which yes Lewis posted was picked up and well we all know what was the outcome with that! He decided to delete his social media accounts! It’s easy to go online and call someone hateful names, be abusive and get away with it, but a personal comment made towards his own family member, he had to apologise for it! The Racists and the trolls, never have to apologise! You can report the hate on Facebook, the person will get a day ban or a weeks ban, but you can’t get the hate page itself deleted! So the hate continues and the comments gets worse the more successful Lewis gets. With the new season just underway, Mercedes are still one of the front runners again for the 2018 World f1 Championship . Lewis will win races and he will lose races. He will add more to his pole record. He will still rise! But the one thing that will continue to rise too, will be the hate for him. And that is something that needs to be addressed, but it never will be. Until he retires from the sport and even then I still see the hate continuing! I can’t stop people from hating Lewis Hamilton, but what I can do is highlight the hate he has to deal with! He will say, it doesn’t affect him and so it shouldn’t affect me, but it does, because for me Lewis is a hero to so many be you black or white and he hasn’t killed or Murdered anyone, so for me when I see people saying things like ‘I hope He crashes and ends up like his dead hero Senna’, well, just that one hateful comment, should make you understand why I must highlight this kind of hate! Simply because It’s just not right..!