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Lewis Hamilton: Proud of His Grenadian Roots

Posted by Caribbean World Magazine on 31 March 2021 | 0 Comments

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31 March 2021

The World’s first black Formula 1 megastar has Spice Island ancestry and proudly wears the Grenada flag 

Though he is British-born - in Stevenage, Hertfordshire to be precise - Formula 1 megastar Lewis Hamilton is fiercely proud of his Grenadian heritage. His father Anthony is from Grenada, a small island nation in the Caribbean dubbed “the Spice Island” on account of its cinnamon, nutmeg and other homegrown spices. To show his allegiance, Hamilton even put the country’s flag on latest clothing range with designer brand Tommy Hilfiger that is sold in every corner of the globe.

As one of the UK’s wealthiest persons, Hamilton has been a firm fixture on the ‘richlist’ for well over a decade now, he tops the ranking as wealthiest sportsperson in all of the UK. It’s an incredible rise to fame and fortune for Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton, MBE, who according to latest figures has well over £131million in the bank.

As the first black driver to race in Formula One, Hamilton was encouraged as a young boy to race radio-controlled cars by his father, Anthony Hamilton, who was born in Grand Coy in Grenada. Lewis Hamilton enjoyed first taste of racing in karting competition in 1993 at the age of eight at the Rye House Kart Circuit and quickly began winning races and Cadet class championships. At the age of ten he approached McLaren F1 team boss Ron Dennis for an autograph, and told him, “Hi. I’m Lewis Hamilton. I won the British Championship and one day I want to be racing your cars.”

Dennis wrote in his autograph book, “Phone me in nine years, we’ll sort something out then.” In 1998, after Hamilton won an additional Super One series and his second British championship, Dennis delivered on his promise and signed Hamilton to the McLaren driver development program, which included an option of a future F1 seat.

Hamilton is a marketing-man's dream as a young, articulate and good-looking driver in an Formula 1 scene that is notoriously white and middle-class. The story of his rise could be straight from a Hollywood script. Even the normally unsentimental McLaren-Mercedes boss Ron Dennis says it has the "attraction of being a bit of a My Fair Lady story". 

In terms of ethnicity Hamilton is unequivocal citing his heritage as being part of the roots that brings him strength. His grandfather came to Britain from Grenada in the 1950s and Hamilton has always embraced the fact he could become a role-model for ethnic groups wanting to enter F1. 

"Hopefully it can encourage other ethnic groups to get involved in the sport," he told BBC Sport.

"It doesn't have to be just for one group of people, it can be for everyone. Hopefully when I'm there people that can relate to (me) will see that it's possible and also try to get into the sport." 

Hamilton’s cousins, uncles and other family on his father’s side still live in Grenada and the Formula 1 ace often uses Instagram to show fans how he enjoys the down-time when visiting the island.Hamilton has also invested in Grenada, spending £20million on a luxury Caribbean beach resort in a beautiful location on the island’s Grand Beach.