F1 CHAMPION LEWIS HAMILTON SPEAKS ABOUT HIS DYSLEXIA
Beyond seemingly loving and supportive parents and a nurturing home life, Lewis Hamilton (born: Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton) has had some adversity to overcome in his lifetime with his dyslexic. Despite that adversity, he has risen to great success in British Formula One racing. He has been the Formula One World Champion three times, in 2008, 2014 and 2015.
Only recently in December 2015, did 30 year-old Lewis Hamilton let the world know that he is dyslexic. Bullying as a child in school was so bad that Hamilton took karate lessons at the age of five, to provide him with a means of defending himself against his aggressors.
SCHOOL LIFE OF LEWIS HAMILTON
Lewis Hamilton’s parents separated early in his life. But his home existence was seemingly harmonious, with both parents being supportive of his life and dreams. The first 12 years, he lived with his mother and two half-sisters. After he started preparing for his future as a professional Formula One driver, he moved into his father’s home. There, he lived with his father, stepmother and half-brother, also a racing driver who has cerebral palsy.
Lewis Hamilton attended a Catholic secondary school, the John Henry Newman School of Stevenage, Hertfordshire. He was active in team sports, playing association football alongside future England international midfielder Ashley Young. Hamilton loved playing football and would have pursued it as a career had racing not worked well for him. He also loved cricket and played for his school team in that sport, too.
At the age of 16, he started attending Cambridge Arts and Sciences. This private college in Cambridge is where he was going to school when he first placed in Formula Renault racing for the Manor Motorsport team. He finished in 5th position for the UK series in 2001 and moved up to 3rd in 2003. In 2003, he also finished in 5th position for the European series.
Breaking Into Racing
Whether it was the bullying which drove him forward, a passion for cars, or an innate desire to be a champion despite his dyslexia, Hamilton started racing at a very young age. By the age of six he was winning remote control car championships against adults as part of the British Radio Car Association. At about the same time, he was taking karate lessons to offset bullying at school.
Lewis graduated to karting at the age of six in 1991, when his father bought him a go-kart for Christmas. By the age of eight he was driving for the Rye House Kart Circuit in England, where Jenson Button and Anthony Davidson also started their successful racing careers. He quickly started winning races within that league and became a champion.
When he was only 10 years old, Hamilton walked up to Formula One McLaren team boss Ron Dennis and asked him for an autograph. He told Dennis that he wanted to one day race Dennis’ cars. The team boss signed the autograph with a note saying for the young racer to, “Phone me in nine years, we’ll sort something out then.”
Dennis actually saw the potential in Hamilton and called him in 1998, when the boy was only 13 years old. At that time, Hamilton was signed to Dennis’ driver development team. Hamilton became the youngest driver to secure a contract resulting in a Formula One drive.
Setting Records and Making a Mark in Racing
Lewis Hamilton started making history early in his racing career. It was during his first season with Formula One in 2007 when he finished second in the championship, only one point behind the winner. He had spent the season setting numerous records.
The next season in 2008, Hamilton won the World Championship for Formula One as part of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team. This made him the youngest world champion in history at that time. He won the championship again in 2014, after which he was dubbed the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Winning a third time in 2105 made him the first Briton in history to win consecutively and only the third to ever win three titles.
Every season that Hamilton has driven in Formula One, he has won at least one race. This is unique to him, among his current field of counterparts. He has successfully attained more victories in the history of Formula One than any Briton. With 43 wins, Lewis Hamilton is already third for all-time victories. As of that accomplishment of 43 wins, he was only 30 years old and has more races ahead, to accomplish even higher levels of success.
The Future for Lewis Hamilton
Racing careers do not last forever. Having achieved great heights at a young age and with both great fame and wealth having been accomplished, Lewis Hamilton is in a unique position of being able to chart his future as he wishes. Now a resident of Monaco, Hamilton has recently started thinking about his plans for life after racing.
When asked what he intends to do when he is no longer behind the wheel of a Formula One race car, Hamilton said, “When I stop, I will get out of the racing world, that’s for sure.”
It was at that same press conference, when Hamilton announced he is dyslexic. This surprised the media and world at large, as his truth was widely unknown until that time. This diagnosis he experienced in childhood and the bullying of his youth likely both come into play, when Lewis thinks about his future after driving.
“I like children so I would like to build schools for poor kids, where they can learn an instrument and get a good education, because I know for myself how hard that is,” Hamilton said to a field of reporters in December 2015.
“As a dyslexic, I struggled. I also missed a lot of lessons on Fridays because I was racing on the weekends. School was not a lot of fun for me,” Hamilton revealed.
While school was not fun for him, Lewis Hamilton clearly possessed what it takes to “power through” such struggles. He made a champion of himself, rising above the bullying circumstances and dyslexia struggles of his youth.