Lewis Hamilton was born and raised in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England.
Hamilton was baptized into the Catholic church at the age of two, and has been a devout Catholic ever since. He says even though his immediate family never prayed a whole lot, they are all believers. In his autobiography, he wrote,
Every now and then I will say a prayer and show my appreciation. I try to make sure it is not only when I am in trouble and I need help; even when I have had a great day, I try to thank God for it.
He wears a crucifix around his neck during races. And, like so many of the world’s super-talented, he believes God gave him a special gift. He said,
My faith is important to me. I really believe that my talent is God-given. I know I’m truly blessed. But I’ve also worked hard to get to where I am.
Hamilton doesn’t appear to be very interested in entering the political debate in his country, but as one of the few black racing drivers, he is inevitably drawn into discussions of race. When Barack Obama became the United States’ first black president in 2008 the same week that Hamilton won the Formula One world championship, talking about his excitement for the world’s black community, the racer said,
Two people of colour who win in the same week may not mean too much but it is definitely a wonderful coincidence.
But it hasn’t all been rosy. Hamilton was the target of racist taunting at a competition in Barcelona, Spain, about which he said,
The truth is I feel somewhat sad. I love this country, especially the city of Barcelona. The people in Spain have always been very warm.
But on the other side of the issue, Hamilton caused a mini-scandal when he jokingly said maybe he was charged with a penalty because he is black. He immediately realized his joke could be taken seriously and apologized, but you can’t take back what’s made it to YouTube.
Touchy subject, isn’t it? I get the feeling that Lewis Hamilton would rather not get involved, but no matter what you say, you’re probably going to piss somebody off. Anyway, I’m going to call Hamilton non-political unless one of you diligent readers leaves me more information in the comments.