Being black made it harder to get a chance in Formula One, Lewis Hamilton admitted in an interview for the Hindustan Times.
“I think it was definitely the case,” said Hamilton when asked if his color was a barrier to reaching F1.
“My dad used to go and meet potential sponsors when I was younger and ask whether they would like to back a non-white driver and they used to laugh at him. Now that attitude has changed.
“I hope there will be many more non-white drivers on the grid now, including those from India.”
Hamilton got his F1 break courtesy of McLaren, who began backing him after he introduced himself to team principal Ron Dennis at an awards ceremony. Years later, Dennis contacts the Hamiltons to offer the young driver a deal.
“I came home from school and dad said Ron’s office had called and they wanted me to test,” said Hamilton. “I just went upstairs to do my homework. And then, during the entire process of studying with them, I realized what a huge opportunity it was to begin living my dream.”
When Hamilton won the world championship in 2008 he was the first non-white driver to do so and also the youngest driver to claim the crown – a record which has since been broken by Sebastian Vettel.
“I didn’t care that it came at a young age,” he said. “I was proud to have finally realized my dream. Just to get to F1 was an incredible achievement for my family and me.”
It’s known as “Carburetor Day” – or in its simplest term, just “Carb Day.”
But the final day of on-track action Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway before Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 is so much more.
Especially on NBCSN, which will have wall-to-wall live coverage starting Friday morning.
Here’s how Friday’s schedule breaks down:
- 11 a.m. ET: Carb Day kicks off with the final practice for Sunday’s Indy 500. The session will last one hour in length.
- 12 p.m. ET: We’re going racing! Strap in for coverage of the Indy Lights’ Freedom 100 on the famous Brickyard.
- 1:30 p.m. ET: We’ll have coverage of the annual IndyCar Pit Stop Challenge. Which teams have the best – and most importantly, fastest and accurate – pit crews? Team Penske has won 10 of the last 12, including the last two years edging out Schmidt Peterson Motorsports each time. Who can potentially beat them this year?
- 3:30 p.m. ET: We’ll have our annual NASCAR America Motorsports Special. Among segments included in the 90-minute show will be:1) 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi will discuss how it used to upset him when people suggested he “backed into” his big win and how he didn’t really feel vindicated until he qualified on the front row for last year’s race.
2) Defending 500 winner Takuma Sato, the first Japanese driver to ever win at Indianapolis, discusses the impact of his big win personally and professionally, particularly back in his native land.
3) An essay by Robin Miller on Stefan Wilson giving up his ride last year to allow Fernando Alonso to race for Andretti Autosport.
4) An essay by Nate Ryan on Danica Patrick as she looks to compete in her final Indy 500 before retiring from professional racing.